Dr. Dehra Harris, a pediatric psychiatrist with Washington University at St. Louis Children’s Hospital discusses the signs and symptoms of ADHD in children.
Parents often ask me, “Is ADHD overdiagnosed?” That’s a tough question to answer. Many factors affect a child’s attention, making ADHD a complicated diagnosis. We follow standards and strict procedures to assess symptoms of ADHD and accurately diagnose the condition. If you see signs your child Is struggling in school or other aspects of life because of attention, talk to a trusted physician.
When you talk to your pediatrician, it is likely they will recommend involving the school and obtaining classroom assessments. Historically, ADHD has been more commonly diagnosed in boys, largely because boys often present disruptive behaviors that are easy to identify in the classroom. The inattentive type of ADHD is harder to identify in both boys and girls. In these circumstances, the child is more of a daydreamer who is missing concepts in the classroom because he or she is focused on something else.
Many parents are conflicted about whether or not to give their child medication to treat ADHD. Medication is a very personal decision, and there are a few natural remedies you can try before pursuing other options. These include:
- Changing diet by avoiding food dyes and preservatives
- Addressing sleep issues
While natural remedies for children with ADHD can help, they do not always work. When deciding whether to try ADHD medications, remember: these medicines have been used for over 50 years. When used correctly, they are very safe and effective.
If you suspect your child is displaying signs and symptoms of ADHD, talk to your pediatrician. If you have additional concerns, they can help you decide when it’s time to connect with a specialist who works with more complicated cases.