How is ADD and ADHD Diagnosed?

ADD children and ADHD children are often diagnosed when they begin school. Most people today have heard of ADD and ADHD as this type of diagnosis is not uncommon and first began to be diagnosed in children and adults as early as the 1930s. While Ritalin was the common solution in the past, as well as medication stimulants, more parents today are saying “no” to mind altering drugs for their children when it comes to treating the ADD child.

There have been studies performed regarding the difference in the brain of the ADD or ADHD child. PET scans have revealed a significant difference. But ADD and ADHD is not diagnosed with blood tests or x-rays. It is a clinical diagnosis that is usually based upon the child’s actions and behavior. Often, at the urging of a teacher, the parents will take the child to the doctor for testing. Teachers are often the first people to spot ADD and attention defecit disorder in children because parents, having gotten used to their child’s behavior, are not looking for the symptoms. In school, ADD and ADHD become more apparent as the ADD child struggles to pay attention in class and often has wandering thoughts. He or she may have a very difficult time in school and may be seen as an underachiever.

Your doctor may send you to a pediatric psychiatrist or psychologist who will then make the diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. In some cases, the pediatrician may make the diagnosis themselves. In most cases, a counselor or psychologist who is familiar with ADD and ADHD is the most qualified to make such a diagnosis. It will be based upon behavior and observation of the child as well as past patterns of behavior.

A diagnosis of ADD or ADHD for your child does not mean that he or she must start taking medication. While we all tend to look for the “magic pill” or the easy solution to a problem, many feel that drugs are not the answer when it comes to ADD or ADHD in children. Drugs such as Ritalin, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for this condition, often make children tired. These are meant to modify the behavior of the child, but end up taking away their uniqueness and individuality, something that has many parents concerned.


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