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These 4 Conditions are Often Misdiagnosed as ADHD

These 4 Conditions are Often Misdiagnosed as ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a common diagnosis for many people, young and old, throughout the world.

However, other common conditions are often misdiagnosed as ADHD, skewing the statistics and putting an abundance of people on restrictive medications that are unnecessary. This eagerness to prescribe medications with the potential of abuse is a major obstacle in the fight against substance abuse and addiction. A person may be exhibiting all of the same symptoms and warning signs of ADHD but might actually have something else going on.

Children are the ones that are the most commonly diagnosed with the disorder. However, during this time, many other conditions may also be at play because of the transformation that their bodies are going through. Making a diagnosis of this kind often relies on the weighing of certain symptoms and behavioral issues. Some of the classic symptoms that are often quickly diagnosed as ADHD are: fidgeting, trouble sleeping, restlessness, forgetfulness and impatience, among many others.

Other behavioral conditions and disorders that are commonly misdiagnosed as the popular ADHD, include:

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar is one of the most closely related conditions to ADHD. They both exhibit the same signs and episodes. Hyperactivity might actually be a manic episode, while impatience and talkativeness are indications that the child is feeling particularly high during that particular time. One thing to keep in mind is that bipolar disorder can occur before the age of 7, while ADHD often occurs in the teen years. The hyperactive behavior will come in episodes with bipolar, while ADHD will happen all the time.

Learning Disabilities

Children with learning disabilities have a more difficult time concentrating in class and are often unable to understand what is being taught. These children might seem like they are not paying attention as they fidget and bounce around, unable to get through school or remaining seated for long periods of time. Those children that have a hard time with specific subjects may stop learning and listening to the teacher altogether.  These signs often resemble hyperactivity, when in fact it is often a symptom of boredom, frustration, and disengagement.

Absence Seizures

Absence Seizures are much different from the convulsions that one normally thinks of when hearing the word. Children with this disorder will often ‘space out’ or stare into space for blocks of time. These episodes can happen at any time, no matter what the child maybe doing at that time.

Vision Problems

Many children that have uncorrected vision problems will stare awkwardly at the teacher and seem to be daydreaming during the lesson. This is due to their inability to see the board or the work that is being presented in front of them. These kids often seem like they have ADD or ADHD because they are not paying enough attention during classes, when in fact it’s a simple eyesight issue.

While these are just conditions that are oftentimes misdiagnosed as ADHD, it is still recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider if you or someone you know has these symptoms. It is better to have an exam ahead of time, rather than allow the problem to worsen as the child becomes older. A proper diagnosis can recommend appropriate treatment that avoids unnecessary medications.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
These 4 Conditions are Often Misdiagnosed as ADHD
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