06 Feb A Brief Guide to Common Behavioral Problems
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)
These symptoms are well known, hence will not be extensively elaborated here. ADHD has been divided into two types – hyperactive and inattentive. The latter type may not be diagnosed until later elementary or middle school years, due to the fact that they are not a behavior problem or not physically hyperactive. Such students will have difficulty focusing in activities they do not enjoy, e.g. difficult schoolwork, cleaning. Girls are underdiagnosed because they are well behaved or work harder to compensate for their behavior. ADHD is often diagnosed incorrectly but is also underdiagnosed. It is estimated that the real incidence of ADHD is double the number actually diagnosed.
Interesting Correlates with ADHD
- chews clothing
- many accidents
- high pain tolerance
- sloppy handwriting
- social problems
- academic inconsistencies
- probabilities of ADHD diagnosis increased if child earlier diagnosed with learning disabilities, is adopted or experienced prenatal or perinatal difficulties.
- Asperger’s, Anxiety and Auditory Processing Disorders are often misdiagnosed as ADHD. Bipolar children often have ADHD too, but the medication is less effective.
- Parents often say “My child cannot have ADHD…they can watch TV all day.” TV or video games are a poor measure of ADHD due to the fact that they are a very undemanding activity. In point of fact, the screen itself does most of the “work” of paying attention.
- Parents must understand that there are often biological or genetic factors involved in ADHD. Pediatricians will find that it is not uncommon that one parent or a family relation did have symptomatology that could have been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Other common precipitating circumstances for ADHD include perinatal factors such as toxemia during pregnancy, fetal distress, or other conditions producing anoxia at birth.
- ADHD does not “suddenly appear” at later elementary or middle school years. Hence a child with a good premorbid history is likely not to have ADHD, but could have other disorders such as bipolar or psychological problems.
The first line of treatment for ADHD is psychostimulants. Psychotherapy alone has been proven ineffective for ADHD but is helpful for correlated problems, such as self-esteem or behavioral acting out. Hence, the psychologist’s role would be psychological evaluation and differentiating it from the above-mentioned diagnoses.
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