“What’s Not ADHD?”
“What’s Not ADHD?”
Let’s look at five behavioral issues which are not ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). While these difficulties may be found along with ADHD, it doesn’t mean that they are symptoms of ADHD.
The five problems we’ll discuss are Anxiety, Depression, Disruptive Behavior, Learning Disabilities, and Sensory Integration Disorder. Unfortunately, we live in a time when all kinds of behavioral problems are herded under the umbrella of ADHD. But what if some attention problems have a different foundation?
- Anxiety is a problem that may easily affect attention because a child can be preoccupied with internal thoughts or worries. As a consequence, he or she may appear to be zoning out. Sometimes children who do not know how to handle a worrisome situation, or who have difficulty expressing their feelings, “clam up.” Don’t you have a harder time concentrating on work if you’re nervous or worried about a personal situation? It can be much more difficult for a child to articulate his or her worries. A concern that seems trivial to adults can also cause great anxiety for a child, as well.
- Depression is a mood disorder which can impair executive thinking skills like working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, and attention. Depression turns our mind’s idle down, and as a result we can appear “out of it” – but the cause is not ADHD. Irritability, lack of initiation or interest, and inattention may be symptoms of depression or ADHD.
- Disruptive Behavior is an especially prevalent problem in school. Some kids just won’t settle down and are a significant learning liability for other students. Sometimes, disruptive behavior is mistaken for hyperactivity. Indeed, hyperactivity may lead to disruptive behavior, but they are not the same thing. A hyperactive child has trouble slowing down, even though he may wish to. An intentionally disruptive child may be feeling frustrated by classroom expectations, rebelling against authority, developing self-control at a slower rate than peers, or seeking attention.
- Learning Disabilities may affect one or more subject areas, as well as social interaction. It stands to reason that if a child has a learning problem, in reading for example, he or she will be less attentive to that aspect of instruction. A learning disability can certainly be exacerbated by ADHD.
- Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) is a problem with either being oversensitive or under sensitive to sensory stimuli. These problems can make a child appear either hyperactive or inattentive. This disorder is often confused with ADHD, especially in preschool children whose sensory integration difficulties undermine “self-control.” A child with a sensory integration disorder may be distressed by loud noises, bright lights, rough textures, or smells; or conversely, may need to handle things, hang upside-down, or shout boisterously.
Each of the disorders described above could potentially be found along with ADHD, in which case both disorders need to be handled. ADHD is an environmental disease, specifically it is a nutrition issue. ADHD can be greatly helped and reserved using a nutritional program. It is well known today that food dyes and chemicals found in our food supply is the main cause of ADHD. Therefore, the key is to eliminate those chemicals out of the child’s body and to determine a diet that will bring him or her to optimum health and attention in school.