ADHD Treatment-The Danger of ADHD Drug Shortages

ADHD children and their parents face many unforeseen dangers  due to shortages of ADHD drugs!

Shortages of drugs used to treat ADHD in children and teens may cause much more risk than just increased behavior problems, poor concentration, and learning difficulties.

During recent shortages of ADHD medications such as Adderall, most parents assumed the biggest problem they could face would be due to the fact that their ADHD child would run out of medication and his or her attention span and impulsive behavior would worsen and they would start making failing grades again.

Unfortunately, as many ADHD experts will tell you, the side effects of not having ADHD drugs probably won’t come close to the other more serious consequences of ADHD drug shortages.

The more serious effects of children and teens not being able to get their ADHD medications lies in the risks of substitution induced side effects and experimentation with other drugs and chemicals to replace those ADHD drugs unavailable.

As ADHD drugs have become unavailable or scarce, parents are often scrambling to buy 12 pills here and 7 pills there, jumping from pharmacy to pharmacy. Many times, these drugs differ by maker, especially if they are generic. That means the strength of the drug available may vary and absorption times may be faster or slower. As a result, these drugs may not work as well; leading parents and doctors to either increase or decrease the dosages to improve behaviors.

Likewise, switching drug manufacturers may cause an ADHD child to experience more side effects such as headache, stomachache or a rapid heartbeat. Once again, this may lead to so many problems that parents and doctors will abruptly switch from one ADHD medication to another in hopes of getting rid of the side-effects. This is a poor option, especially if the child’s ADHD was effectively treated on the first drug and doing so usually leads to a failure in treatment as many of these drugs are not directly interchangeable.

Likewise, most teens and college students with ADHD have learned that their medications help them focus, help them concentrate, stay awake to study, and help them make better grades. As a result, they might be tempted to substitute street drugs for ADHD medications when they are unable to get their usual “fixes”.

After all, most ADHD drugs are derivatives of amphetamines which are readily available on the street. The problem with this lies in the fact that there is no consistency amongst street drugs. Some are contaminated with other street drugs, processing chemicals, and contaminants that may cause addiction and bodily harm.

In the recent past, our office has seen one college student who suffered withdrawal symptoms from not being able to get legally prescribed Adderall or an illegal substitute. He had the shakes and suspicious behavior of a druggie going stone cold, because he was abusing his stimulants to cram for tests. (I suspect that some of the “Adderall” college students buy off-the-street may really be fake-uppers made to look like the real thing!)

Parents of ADHD children and teens can minimize these risks by following a few tips when they can’t find an adequate supply of ADHD medications:

  • If you must go to several drug stores to get an a month’s supply of medication, ask for the specific brand name or if a generic, ask for the same manufacturer and lot number if possible
  • Do not flip flop back and forth between different stimulants just because one is available one month and another the next
  • Do not buy ADHD drugs off the street or borrow them from others as you really don’t know what you’re getting, how it has been handled or stored, or even if it’s the “real thing”
  • Discuss the dangers of caffeine loading, using high dose antihistamines, and substituting street drugs with your teenagers and college students with ADHD. If they didn’t discover in high school that these things can help them get by when they can’t get their ADHD drugs, you can bet your last dollar they found out the first week of college and when facing final exams….they’ll do whatever it takes
  • Plan ahead…ask your ADHD doctor to write the prescription a few (5-7) days in advance so you have time for your pharmacy to obtain the drug or if they can’t, at least you can try to locate enough without waiting until that last frustrating minute just like everyone else
  • Ask your regular pharmacy-the one you consistently use and can claim loyalty to- to put your child’s prescription on a priority check list. That’s the list of essential drugs that need to be undated for supply-ability on a day to day basis.

Protecting your ADHDer from the side effects of ADHD drug shortage is not as simple as it seems. There are many things that we must consider to help ADHD kids and teens “survive” during these trying times. As always, you should be a strong advocate for your child’s health care.

Dr. Frank

Here are a few articles you might find interesting:

Adderall Drug Shortage Will Continue in 2012, Government Officials Say

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/03/adderall-drug-shortage-will-continue-in-2012-government-officials-say/

Lingering shortage of ADHD drugs unravels lives

http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/15/9472468-lingering-shortage-of-adhd-drugs-unravels-lives

Insight: Shortage of ADHD drug Adderall seen persisting

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/01/us-adhd-adderall-shortage-idUSTRE80009E20120101

Yes, DEA, there’s an ADHD Med Shortage

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201201/yes-dea-theres-adhd-med-shortage

Adderall shortage near finals could affect students

http://www.tcu360.com/campus/2011/12/14173.adderall-shortage-near-finals-could-affect-students

ADHD Teens Impulsivity and Legal Problems during the Holidays

An increase in ADHD impulsivity is what gets many teens in legal trouble during the Holidays!

As any parent of a teenager with ADHD will tell you, ADHD teens are more prone to act more impulsively during the holiday season -you know what they mean-before they put their brain into gear.  This often means they are more likely to get into trouble with the law as a result of poorly controlled or uncontrolled impulsive behavior.

ADHD experts think there are several reasons for children and teenagers with ADHD to more often fall prey to their impulsive behavior during holidays:

  • The excitement of the season with fast moving lights, loud sounds and high expectations overwhelms their normal levels of control
  • 10 to 15% of parents of ADHD teens and children with ADHD will stop their ADHD medications as soon as school lets out-to give them a “drug holiday” or a chance to “go without the medicine”
  • 25 to 40% of teens and kids with ADHD will stop their ADHD drugs on their own without telling anyone and once untreated, their impulsive behavior returns and many times gets worse
  • When out of school, ADHD teens tend to hang around others like themselves-with similar behaviors- and when you put two or three very impulsive teens together, it’s a recipe for disaster.

In the previous five articles, we’ve discussed the five most common legal problems that can happen to an ADHD teen during the holiday season:

  • Speeding tickets and auto accidents
  • Experimenting with alcohol and drugs
  • Unprotected sex and acting-out acts of sex
  • Stealing and shoplifting
  • Lying and deceptive behavior.

Since I know how much stress having an ADHD child can place on a family, I advise parents to try to head-off these legal problems by asking specific questions of their ADHD child:

  1. When is the last time you took your medications?  If you ask your ADHD teen if he or she is taking their meds, of course they’re going to say “Yes!”  They don’t want to argue with you-it’s the holidays and that would be a waste of their time. By asking when they took their last dose, you give them a chance to admit they forgot to take the pills without the threat of punishment or a sermon. If you find they are missing doses, then you know you must count pills every day. You might even have to watch them take the pills.
  2. Have you been invited to any parties over the holidays? This gives you an opportunity to discuss your expectations about parties as covered in the article:

            ADHD Teens-Impulsivity, Alcohol and Drugs during the holidays 
            http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/2011/12/adhd-teens-impulsivity-alcohol-and-drugs-during-the-holidays/

            Many ADHD teens don’t bother telling you about upcoming parties because they’ve already learned it’s easier to ask to
            be forgiven than to ask for permission

  1. Have any of your friends smoked pot, taken drugs, drank beer or alcohol or had unprotected sex in the past three or four weeks? This question gives you the chance to discuss-not lecture about-the responsibilities of persons who drink alcohol or engage in sex. You should discuss the risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases with both sons and daughters-after all, it takes two to tango.
  2. Have you gotten into trouble with the police or had a speeding ticket in the past two or three weeks? This is the perfect time to talk about how easy it is to shoplift or steal to get something that you want instead of waiting to receive it as a gift or buy it later and how telling lies to get out of trouble often leads to more trouble. Many teens will just go ahead and tell you if any legal problems are brewing, because they suddenly realize things will be much worse for them when you eventually find out.
  3. Have you made any new friends since you’ve been out of school? New friends-especially those from out-of-town are often the ones that lead ADHD teens down the wrong impulsive road. These guys and gals know they will be leaving to go home soon and probably either won’t be blamed or won’t be held responsible for whatever mischief they cause.

Hopefully, by asking these pointed questions, you can help your ADHD teenager control his or her impulsivity and stay out of legal trouble during the holidays. Just like you, I’m sure your family would like to have a stress-free holiday season.

Dr. Frank

ADHD Teen Impulsive Behavior and Shoplifting during the holidays

Teens with ADHD may have increased impulsive behavior during the holidays that leads to shoplifting and stealing!

Teenagers and sometimes pre-teens often expect immediate reward or gratification, even when they can’t afford or don’t deserve either.  But, most of the time, these children can delay immediate gratification, usually realizing that they must wait patiently for rewards and objects they desire.

In contrast, ADHD teens and pre-teens many times either won’t or can’t delay trying to immediately get what they want or think they deserve. This is simply part of the impulsive behavior that most teenagers with ADHD show between 50 and 75 percent of the time.

Unfortunately, all of the bright lights, fast moving and tempting television ads, expectations discussed by other teens and adults and the excitement of the holiday season tend to make an ADHD teen’s  impulsivity surge and fall like riding an emotional roller coaster.

It’s often during these bouncing ups and downs that ADHD teens are tempted to obtain what they want-what they think they’ve been cheated out of-and what they think they deserve-by stealing or shoplifting.
We consider the behavior of shoplifting to be an uncontrolled impulsive act intended to obtain something of perceived value that meets an unfulfilled real or imagined need.

One of my 15 year-old ADHD patients, Robert, was arrested the week of Thanksgiving for shoplifting a $7 paperback book…yes, a paperback book about a popular video game he played every day. He told me he just had to have the book so he could play the game better and couldn’t wait for his parents to buy it for him.

So, he went into a downtown book store and when he thought no one was watching, he slid the book into his coat and walked out the front door. The manager had seen it all on hidden camera and stopped him right outside the store. Robert’s shoplifting behavior was classic ADHD impulsivity.

He ended up spending less than 4 hours in jail, but before it was all over, that $7 book cost his mom and dad $2200 in lawyer fees, court costs and a pre-trial intervention program. Talk about an expensive book!

ADHD teens, just like children and adults with ADHD, may have a difficult time processing what they see, hear, and feel and as a result, they just don’t or can’t suppress their need for immediate reward or instant satisfaction. Since they often miss little clues that non-ADHD teens pick up from other teens and adults-like the differences between what is right and what is wrong-what is acceptable and what is not-many ADHD persons just don’t see anything wrong with taking what they want, even though they may later admit they knew it was wrong or illegal to do so.

Parents and teachers can help ADHD teens and pre-teens avoid falling into the legal trap of shoplifting by:

  • Making sure the ADHD teen is taking his or her medications and still going to coaching-training. In Robert’s case, he had stopped his ADHD drugs the day school was out for the Thanksgiving holiday-without telling mom or dad.
  • Look for little clues that your ADHD teen may be tempted to steal or shoplift. These include outward acts of jealousy when other students, friends or siblings have something that he or she desires. In some cases, the ADHD teen will brag that he is “going to get one of those” and it’s going to be bigger-faster-better than anyone else’s or she’s going to get it earlier or when no one else can. This bragging places a lot of pressure on an ADHD teen to “live up to what they said or look stupid”.
  • Speak with-not talk to-your ADHD children about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to getting things, deserving things and expecting things. Help them sort out their feeling and emotions-their perceived needs and wants-and teach them ways to delay instant gratification so they can control or suppress impulsive behaviors and aren’t tempted to steal or shoplift.

Why did Robert’s parents spend so much to “get him out of trouble” and worked so hard to have his record cleared (expunged)?

As a result of that little almost nothing shoplifting conviction, a misdemeanor, Robert may have:

  • Been denied scholarships for college
  • Refused college admission or placed on probation for the first year
  • Turned down for good jobs
  • Denied admission into the military or military based schools
  • Passed over for promotions and advancement in what-ever job he was able to get.

By the way… Robert was lucky, at the time he applied for college, his legal record had been clear for a year, his ADHD-impulsive behavior was under control with medications and using an ADHD coach and he got a scholarship (a small one) and entered college without problems.

Obviously, having a legal record-shoplifting or stealing-can dramatically affect any teen’s future, but probably damages the ADHD teen’s more than usual as they already might suffer bias and discrimination from just having the label of ADHD. Help your ADHD teen avoid this impulsive act-help him or her protect their future by using those tips we discussed above to prevent ADHD impulsive behavior-shoplifting during the holiday season.

Dr. Frank

Here's an earlier article you might find useful:

ADHD children-It’s Easier to Lie

http://adhdbehavior.com/mistakenforadhd2/?p=158

 

 

 

ADHD Teens and Impulsive Sex over the Holidays

Teenagers with ADHD are more likely to have unprotected sex during the holidays because of heightened impulsivity.

Unprotected spur of the moment sex is just one of several reckless behaviors that may end up causing legal problems for your ADHD teen and your family over the holiday season.

This is particularly true for ADHD teens who don’t take their medication regularly or for those whose parents thought they needed a drug holiday from their ADHD drugs and behavioral therapy.  Very rarely do I recommend taking a teen with ADHD off of his or her ADHD medications over the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s holidays. Why?

The holiday seasons are now more than ever:

  • Hyper-stimulating-too much spontaneous excitement makes impulsivity much worse  
  • Move too fast even for non-ADHD children and teens, often causing more impulsivity than normal
  • Full of activities such as parties and concerts that are poorly supervised and provide ample opportunity for mischief
  • Cause teens and adults to let their guard down as all of that good cheer and those renewed and new friendships lead to promiscuitive ADHD teen behavior and risk taking  
  • Because ADHD teenagers tend to believe and trust in other teens and young adults who should often be distrusted or questioned about their motives.

Remember Carissa’s friend Amy, from my last post?

She had an unsupervised Christmas party while her parents were out of town and got pregnant by one of three 21 year-old guys who brought alcohol and drugs to a party of underage teenagers. These guys knew they would score if they could get 17 and 18 year old girls to drink just enough beer or liquor to lose their inhibitions and forget their parental training.

In Amy’s case, all she could remember was one of the guys poured two glasses of something clear; promised her it was just a small hit of booze and that he knew she could handle it. A couple of hours later, when she awoke, a policeman was telling her to get dressed.

What can you do to prevent your ADHD teenager from having unprotected impulsive sex over the holidays?

  • Tell them you know how easy it is to have sex and you are concerned they might be or become sexually active and just simply ask if they are on birth control pills or using condoms. This is almost a form of shock therapy, but I’ve found more often than not, it starts a really open-ended conversation that answers many questions. Many parents would balk at this question, but ADHD doctors agree most-75-85%-of all ADHD teenagers are sexually active by the age of 16 years. It’s better to assume they are having sex and deal with it than to ask the old direct question: “Are you having sex?” If you ask this question, I can almost guarantee the answer you get is going to be “No!”
  • Explain how alcohol and date rape drugs work to lower his or her resistance and inhibitions and that anyone who shares drugs or alcohol with them has a selfish reason for doing so. (see…What Your Teens Know or Don't Know About Club Drugs http://drhuggiebear.com/information/whatyourteensknow.htm)
  • Insist that you know everything possible about who they are dating, where they are going and how the parties and concerts are supervised. This not only shows your concern for their well-being, but gives them a chance to show their maturity. For more information on this topic, please see ADHD Teens-Impulsivity, Alcohol and Drugs during the holidays- http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/2011/12/adhd-teens-impulsivity-alcohol-and-drugs-during-the-holidays/#more-1317

It’s important to remember…all risk-taking behavior in ADHD teens is the result of uncontrolled impulsivity, whether because of a dare, seeking immediate pleasure and reward, or doing something forbidden.

It would be wise to speak with your ADHD teenager before he or she decides to stop their ADHD therapy and agree about what you both wish to happen over the holidays. Maybe you’ll prevent some of his or her risk-taking behavior and at the same time avoid becoming a grandparent before you thought likely.

Dr. Frank

You might want to take a look at this post too:

ADHD Misdiagnosis may be caused by ADHD Drug Abuse

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/2010/12/adhd-misdiagnosis-may-be-caused-by-adhd-drug-abuse/#more-350

ADHD Treatment using Meditation may help Distractive Behavior

ADHD might be effectively treated using meditation to help distractive behavior in both children and adults!

Easy distractibility and inattentiveness are two of the core symptoms or signs of ADHD and really are part of the behavior spectrum that defines attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Many ADHD drugs and forms of cognitive behavior therapy were developed to purposefully target these symptoms of ADHD.

Now, it appears that a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that persons experienced in meditation techniques may have less neuro activity in the parts of their brain “associated with daydreaming and distraction”. The parts of our brains responsible for these distracting thoughts are referred to as “the default mode network”. In contrast, researchers refer to the functional parts of our brain that allow us to focus on task and pay attention as the “attentional network.”

Researchers from the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic used MRI scans to analyze brain activity in both novice and experienced meditators as they practiced mindfulness meditation. They discovered that regardless of the type of meditation, experienced meditators had less activity in the default mode network and were more likely to show activity in parts of their brain that helped control random thoughts and provided self-control.

This means that meditation therapy might be used to treat all forms of ADHD, from mildest to most severe as all ADHD children, teens and adults can benefit from any level of self-control and impulse behavior inhibition.

Many ADHD experts may consider meditation to be one of those “alternative therapies, like balancing vitamins and essential nutrients to help improve a child’s behavior problem. But, I think it would be worth a try. Many of us feel that any therapy that isn’t harmful to the child or adult with ADHD, should be considered, tried, and continued if it is found to decrease the core symptoms of ADHD without significant risks or side effects.

Parents of ADHD children might consider a form of behavioral therapy that includes teaching their child basic meditation techniques. You might remember one of my posts from earlier this year (included below) that dealt with using Tai Chi as a treatment for the behavior problems of ADHD. After all, Tai Chi is just another type of meditation using exercise-movement as its focus.

In a way, I’m sure cognitive behavior therapy has a similar effect on the ADHD child’s brain…it stimulates the areas of the brain that help with self-control and decreases activity in the areas that cause impulsivity and distractibility. Hey…maybe we could all improve our concentration and impulsivity control by learning meditation…it’s a thought!

Dr. Frank

References:

Meditation may help brain tune out distractions

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500368_162-57328931/meditation-may-help-brain-tune-out-distractions/

T’ai Chi Exercise might help ADHD in Children and Teens

http://mistakenforadhd.com/724/t’ai-chi-exercise-might-help-adhd-in-children-and-teens/

Does Exercise help ADHD?

http://mistakenforadhd.com/424/does-exercise-help-adhd/

Simple Tips to Handle Hyperactive Kids over the Holidays

Simple Tips to Handle Hyperactive Kids over the Holidays

We all know how stressful it can be to deal with hyperactive kids and children with ADHD during the best of times. They are often mouthy, interrupt your conversations, create embarrassing moments at the mall during shopping trips, and can be frustrating as they just don’t seem to behave and can’t or won’t follow instructions.

Pat Wyman of www.howtolearn.com invited me to submit articles to help parents, siblings, other family members, and teachers deal with kids with ADHD and children with behavior problems over the holidays.  Pat’s site is chock-full of valuable information in many categories that deal with learning problems in children and should be considered one of your valuable resources.

I won’t reprint the article here, but instead invite you to use the link below to visit Pat’s site, read the article and print it as a guide for you and your family to use in dealing with your ADHD child this holiday season.

My hope is that by learning why children with hyperactivity-ADHD kids get worse during the holidays and by using these tips, that you and your family will experience less stress and more joy over the entire heartwarming season!

And please, by all means, share it with all of those family and friends whom you feel might benefit from its message.

Here’s wishing you and yours the very best of the Christmas and Holiday season.

Dr. Frank

Here’s the link:

How To Handle Hyperactive Kids Over The Holidays

http://www.howtolearn.com/2011/11/how-to-handle-hyperactive-kids-over-the-holidays

Children with Learning Problems often Misdiagnosed as ADHD

Not only in the United States, but apparently worldwide-children with learning Problems are often misdiagnosed as ADHD!

You know the scenario-a teacher notices 8 year-old Scottie just isn’t quite able to keep up in class. So, the teacher advises Scottie’s mom and dad to have him evaluated for ADHD or a learning disability.

What is the problem inherent in a teacher asking a parent to have a child evaluated for ADHD or a learning disability?

No parent-repeat no parent is readily willing to accept the possibility that their child might have a learning disability. After all, aren’t kids with learning disabilities slow, or don’t they have brain damage or something that runs in families?

No…ADHD is a much easier diagnosis to swallow.

Parents falsely believe the teacher must know what he or she is talking about. In other words, 90 percent of parents of behavior or learning problem kids will automatically assume that if the teacher suspects a child is ADHD, then the child must be ADHD.

This keeps 90% of those kids from being adequately evaluated for the real problem causing their ADHD-like behavior. Why, because mom or dad takes the child to a doctor and states: “His teacher said he must be ADHD, because he’s not doing well in class.” The doctor then becomes an active part of a preconceived ADHD bias-that the child must be ADHD.

An interesting article on the swissinfo.ch site addresses the fact that ADHD misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis is not only escalating, but is worldwide-not just limited to the United States. In a new book, pediatrician Thomas Baumann and youth psychiatrist Romedius Alber address these issues in Swiss schoolchildren:

  • More than 50% of Swiss schoolchildren are currently undergoing learning problem therapy
  • Both teachers and parents are” too quick to rush their children into treatment when things aren’t going well at school”
  • Teachers and parents feel compelled that every child with a learning problem must be diagnosed, subjected to therapy and the problem “corrected immediately” –they want the quick fix as I call it
  • More often children with learning problems are truly just victims of society’s pressures from growing and sometime unrealistic expectations about school performance
  • As a result of these tendencies, it’s not uncommon for Swiss children to be misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Drs. Bauchmann and Alber point out society, teachers and parents tend to focus too much on detecting a child’s flaws and weaknesses instead of looking for their strengths and the things that make them unique individuals.

Is it possible that these are the very same things fueling the meteoric rise in ADHD diagnosis (one in ten US kids diagnosed as ADHD by end of year) and the corresponding dramatic increase in ADHD misdiagnosis (25 to 50% of US kids misdiagnosed as ADHD) in the US? Food for thought…

Protect your child with a learning problem from ADHD misdiagnosis by insisting he or she undergo an unbiased completed evaluation before being labeled and treated for a behavior disorder he or she might not have. Mistaken for ADHD can help guide you through the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of all of the things that can mimic ADHD causing misdiagnosis of ADHD.

Maybe we need to slow things down a little and take another look at educating healthcare professionals, teachers and parents on the pitfalls of the diagnosis of ADHD and the dangers of misdiagnosing a child or teen with ADHD.

Dr. Frank

References:

Doctors say weak students get too much therapy

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss_news/Doctors_say_weak_students_get_too_much_therapy.html?cid=31523552

ADHD in Children-the Challenge of Diagnosing a 4 year-old

http://mistakenforadhd.com/1045/adhd-in-children-the-challenge-of-diagnosing-a-4-year-old/

ADHD Diagnosis: The Dangers of Misdiagnosis in 4 year-olds

http://mistakenforadhd.com/1042/adhd-diagnosis-the-dangers-of-misdiagnosis-in-4-year-olds/

Faux ADHD-the New Term for ADHD Misdiagnosis?

http://mistakenforadhd.com/1029/faux-adhd-the-new-term-for-adhd-misdiagnosis/

Many ADHD Children Misdiagnosed at Start of School

http://mistakenforadhd.com/961/many-adhd-children-misdiagnosed-at-start-of-school/

Diagnosis of ADHD in Children Soars in US

http://mistakenforadhd.com/926/diagnosis-of-adhd-in-children-soars-in-us/

ADHD Misdiagnosis-ADHD Treatment: Guilt by association

Many a kid or teen has been misdiagnosed as a child with ADHD based on guilt by association.

I’ve often warned parent, educators and other doctors how it’s too easy to slap the diagnosis of ADHD on a child with behavior problems…and how very difficult it is to remove that label once it has been put on anyone.

A child or an adult might be wrongfully labeled as ADHD because:

  • A learning disability and inattentiveness caused by problems hearing, a vision disorder, a mismatch between learning styles
  • He or she has a brother or a sister with ADHD…or a father or a mother who was ADHD
  • He acts like he has ADHD-is impulsive, can’t focus, can’t organize, and gets hyper at times
  • There is nothing else that seems to explain his or her behavior
  • He or she is friends with a person who is ADHD.

There is great danger in assuming a child is ADHD just because he or she has one of the above…just labeling a child, teen or adult with ADHD can damage their potential for success in life. Mislabeling a child as ADHD can lead to self-esteem issues, classroom bias and discrimination, perception problems at work and failure in developing the social skills needed to keep a job, date someone and deal with marriage, and live independent of parents, grandparents or an institution.

You can protect your child from some or all of these side effects of wrongfully diagnosing a child or adult as ADHD!

  • Keep an open mind about your child’s, spouse’s, brother’s, sister’s or parent’s behavior-don’t just assume that they have ADHD because someone else told you such was the case.
  • Remind yourself that not all impulsive-hyperactive-inattentive  behavior  ends up being ADHD
  • When you visit the doctor’s office for ADHD evaluation be sure to relate the behavior-suspect person’s strengths and not just his or her weaknesses
  • Explore and discover all of the things that can look like-act like ADHD causing confusing and ADHD misdiagnosis-it is just as important to know the things that are not ADHD as it is to know the things that are ADHD
  • Insist on hearing and vision testing by a qualified specialist before you allow ADHD labeling of any child or teen who has a learning disability or is making poor grades
  • Learn as much as you can about the child’s or teen’s behavior or disability in the one single setting or environment that appears to be most affected, make good notes, and take those notes with you when you go to your ADHD doctor’s office visit.

If you have more tips on preventing ADHD misdiagnosis or ensuring the proper diagnosis of ADHD, please share them.

There are many other things you can do to protect your child, sibling, spouse or parent from the suffering caused by ADHD misdiagnosis, mislabeling, and inappropriate ADHD drug therapy. As we close, I’d like to remind you of previous posts that quoted “Mistaken for ADHD” and other ADHD books and medical articles offering advice on preventing the misdiagnosis of ADHD…they are included below.

Dr. Frank

Five tips to create a more inclusive classroom

http://www.challengingminds.com/five-tips-to-create-a-more-inclusive-classroom.html

ADHD Treatment: What to tell your ADHD Doctor

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/1004/adhd-treatment-what-to-tell-your-adhd-doctor/

New School Year Behavior Problems-Preventing ADHD Misdiagnosis

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/965/adhd-learning-and-behavior-problems-preventing-adhd-misdiagnosis-at-the-start-of-school/

ADHD Diagnosis-ADHD Misdiagnosis Bias and Discrimination

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/958/adhd-diagnosis-adhd-misdiagnosis-bias-and-discrimination/

Impulsive Children with ADHD-Verbal Impulsivity

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/890/impulsive-children-with-adhd-verbal-impulsivity/

ADHD Diagnosis-Avoiding Mislabeling a Child with ADHD

http://www.mistakenforadhd.com/847/adhd-diagnosis-avoiding-mislabeling-a-child-with-adhd/

How to Diagnose ADHD in Children and Teens

With the start of school upon us, it’s very important now, that children with behavior disorders such as ADHD undergo proper evaluation and diagnosis of ADHD and treatment for ADHD.

During the rush to get children back to school and evaluate their behavior after the first two weeks of school, it terribly easy for parents, teachers and healthcare professionals to give in to all of that pressure. It’s easy to assume that a child’s bad behavior or previous learning problems are caused by ADHD and just “put them on a pill to fix it!”

Unfortunately, all of the pressure to cure bad behavior-impulsivity, inattentiveness and hyperactivity and prevent failing grades- often leads to an inadequate evaluation, misdiagnosis of ADHD, mislabeling and wrongful treatment.

As I pointed out in “Mistaken for ADHD”, mislabeling a child as ADHD can cause loss of self-esteem, worsen behavior problems, damage to social relationships and the family as a unit, ADHD bias and discrimination, and even worsened grades.

In fact, worsening grades despite use of ADHD stimulants or other ADHD drugs is a sure-fire sign of ADHD misdiagnosis or wrongful therapy in a child who is ADHD.

Now is the time for us to prevent all of that pain and suffering by making sure our child’s ADHD diagnosis is correct and he or she is not being treated for the wrong problem-you know…the one really responsible for their bad grades and ADHD-like behavior.

My good friend Pat Wyman understands all of these needs and priorities and has published excerpts from my book, “Mistaken for ADHD” on her website; www.howtolearn.com. In those articles, you’ll discover how the Diagnosis of ADHD should be made and more importantly, how the Diagnosis of ADHD should not be made.

I invite you to take a look at these excerpts as they will help guide you through a “real ADHD diagnosis” and toward the appropriate behavioral training and drug therapy for ADHD.

Dr. Frank

Here is one of Pat’s links:

http://www.howtolearn.com/2011/08/diagnosing-adhd-the-right-way-part-3

You’ll find the others on www.howtolearn.com and while you’re there, take a look at the learning styles assessments!

P.S. Don’t forget that you and your friends can get a gift copy of the E-book:

“What you absolutely need to know about ADHD” just by signing up for our newsletter;

“Living with ADHD”-organizing life one minute at a time at www.ADHDbehavior.com or here on www.mistakenforadhd.com

Poor Hand Writing May Cause ADHD Misdiagnosis in Children

Most parents and teachers have long noticed many children with ADHD not only have reading problems, but have terrible handwriting skills as well.

All three skills-normal reading, comprehension, and expressive writing are necessary for normal learning and socialization. ADHD children and teens many times have deficiencies in reading and writing referred to as reading and writing language disorders.

Children with ADHD are at greater than five times the risk for writing problems when compared to kids who are not ADHD.

A recent study to be published in the next issue of Pediatrics notes children with ADHD suffer a much higher risk of developing WLD or written language disorder. This higher risk appears to persist at least until age 19 and I suspect we’ll later find that adults with ADHD continue to suffer the same risk when ADHD follows them past adolescence.

Children with poor handwriting are at increased risk for misdiagnosis of ADHD and other behavior problems!

In our office, we evaluate no fewer than ten children with poor handwriting skills each month. While it’s true that the majority of these kids are ADHD, at least, three or four out of every ten suffers from something else. That something else is usually a vision problem-visual sensory processing disorder.

Kids with visual sensory processing disorders may suffer inattentiveness, poor focus, impulsivity and what appears to be hyperactivity, but is more often an exaggerated energy release of frustration. Unfortunately, these symptoms overlap so much with those of ADHD that they are confusing and often mistaken for ADHD. As a result, these children and adults are easily misdiagnosed as ADHD.

Visual sensory processing disorders (VSPD) are usually not detectable by ordinary means. I refer my vision-problem kids to a specialist trained to evaluate and treat children for everything from a lazy eye or convergence disorders to visual integration and stereotaxis (depth of field and 3D vision) problems.

About 85% of the time, these kids can stop taking ADHD drugs once they successfully complete supervised vision training. Within just a few months, most have markedly improved handwriting, their grades go up and their social skills improve dramatically. In essence, their ADHD is considered cured!

In my next post, we’ll discuss Jasmine, a young lady evaluated three months ago because her ADHD drugs weren’t working and her handwriting and spelling had gotten much worse over the previous year.

Poor handwriting can cause ADHD misdiagnosis in children suffering visual sensory processing disorders!

Dr. Frank

Here are recent articles on poor handwriting and ADHD:

Children with ADHD at Risk for Developing Writing Difficulties

http://www.healthnews.com/en/articles/0pFcwl_P943QVro7EppQKk/Children-with-ADHD-at-Risk-for-Developing-Writing-Difficulties/?pageNr=2#

 

Mayo researchers link ADHD with writing problems

http://www.startribune.com/local/128286623.html