Mom's Talk Q&A: ADD

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Question: My child actually came to me and complained about having a hard time concentrating, possibly because of ADD. I hear the term being thrown around so much lately. I want to make sure that the doctors aren't going to jump to conclusions. Any advice?

You are correct about ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) being talked about a lot. I can see why you would be concerned.

I have a family member who just went through this, so I have a little perspective on the situation. The son's school called and told the parents he wasn't reading and had a hard time understanding. They told them to take him to the doctor and get treatment for ADD.

My family really did not believe that he had ADD and really thought that other testing should be done before a diagnosis on minimal facts.

Those tests included the following (and you should ask your doctor to consider them): an allergy test, sleep apnea tests, full blood panels and a full physical. These are just a few suggestions.

The child tested positive for sleep apnea. 

"Over 2 million children suffer from sleep disorders,” according to sleepmed.com, and it is, “estimated that 30-40 percent of children do not sleep enough.”

"Children require an average of nine-10 hours of sleep each night,” according to the site.

After getting on a sleep schedule with the apnea taken care of, the child was reading within a few days and was doing better in school. The parents also found that the boy's adenoids and tonsils needed to be removed.  They decided to do testing on his sister and found the same.

You need to ask yourself: “Is my child having difficulty sleeping at night? Are they getting nine-10 hours of sleep each night?” Before jumping to the ADD conclusion, I believe alternate testing should be done. 

Before medicating your child, why not see what else might be going on? Also, by doing this testing at a young age, you will have a baseline for your children. This way, if they need further testing when they are older, the doctors have perspective on where they were and where they are now.

It could very well be that your child has ADD. But, in my opinion, all avenues should be discussed. Let's also remember there is not a clear diagnostic tool for ADD. There is a medical exam and a questionnaire. Many medical issues can look like ADD but are not.

I am not a doctor, but as a parent, I would be seeking out all methods to ensure the correct diagnosis. Talk to your doctor and ask for additional testing prior to diagnosis. Your doctor should be doing these things, but if they are not, you need to step up and ask.


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