Category: Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton

young girl being bullied by peers

What Parents Should Know About Childhood Bullying

In recent years, a lot more attention has been paid to bullying especially to youths and the impact it can have on them. A child being bullied can take a tremendous toll on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Teens and children are prime targets for bullying because they’re especially sensitive to criticism and the opinions of others. After all, growing up means for many youths shaping themselves according to societal expectations which includes the opinions of their peers. Kids who bully, however, are likely looking for an outlet for aggression or a way to cope with problems in their own personal lives.

Unfortunately, not every child being bullied asks for help. The reasons for this can stem from fear of peer rejection, humiliation, feelings of helplessness, or fear of retaliation by the bully. But left unaddressed, bullying can be extremely detrimental to victims and studies show a strong link between bullying and suicide in young people. Statistics show that at least half of the total number of suicides committed by young people are the result of bullying and that bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-suicide victims.

You Child Being Bullied: How To Know

Your child might not tell you if they’re being bullied but there may be certain signs. Some are more obvious than others. If your child has unexplainable injuries or  has frequently missing personal items, it may be a sign that your child is being bullied. Bullies use theft and physical abuse as tactics of intimidation. While it’s true that kids can sometimes be forgetful or not very careful, frequently missing or damaged items and physical injuries like black eyes are seldom the result of the individual. Some injuries, however, can be self-inflicted. Self-harm is a major indicator of something wrong which can stem from bullying or other sources of distress.

Other indicators are less obvious and require more observance. Noticeable changes in appetite like suddenly losing interest in eating or eating considerably more can be signs of peer influence. Eating is one of our most obvious coping mechanisms so extreme changes in eating patterns can indicate emotional distress. For a child who is eating noticeably less or not at all, it could be a sign of peer influence and bodily dissatisfaction. For the child who is suddenly eating more it could be a sign of growth or it could be because they’re not eating at school. Perhaps it’s  because they don’t feel comfortable or because their lunch or lunch money is being taken.

Other health-related indicators of bullying include loss of sleep or an inability to sleep, frequently claiming to be sick and/or avoiding class, a sudden decline in grades, or a tendency to avoid social activity and withdraw themselves from personal relationships.

What Parents Can Do About Bullying

It’s always a good idea to keep an open line of communication with your child and speak with them openly and honestly.  While kids may not always tell their parents if they’re being bullied, the opportunity to talk about their school and personal lives should be there should they wish to use it. Initiating these conversations yourself is not necessarily a bad idea, but it’s important to allow your child to initiate their own conversations and to feel safe to do so.

But what if you know or are certain your child is being bullied? Many kids won’t tell their parents if they’re being bullied and the reasons for that are many and varied and can range from a general feeling of helplessness to being afraid of retaliation from their bullies. Depending on the situation, it’s important to teach your child to be assertive and to ask whoever is bullying them to stop. If that doesn’t work or isn’t safe, your child should try to avoid their bully. Your child should also be able to seek help from the proper authority figure or figures in the environment they’re being bullied. If they’re at school they should seek help from the teachers or principal. However, if this doesn’t work, you as a parent might need to get involved. This can mean setting up meetings with the teachers or principal, or taking your child to school to ensure their safety upon arrival.

The goal is to do whatever is possible for you and your child to ensure that they can live and learn in safe, bully-free environments. So make sure to talk to your child to find out what’s going on and how you can help. Sometimes counseling and therapy can be good options for victims of bullying to help them overcome the mental and emotional abuse they suffered from their experiences. Overall, make sure your child knows that you are there for them, to love and support them, and to offer the help they need even if they are too afraid to ask. Work with them and together you and your child can overcome bullying and help others, too.

Four Social Skills That Will Help Your Child in School

September means that school has started and fall is coming which means lots of time thinking about things like homework and indoor activities.  In some ways, indoor activities require more social skills than outdoor activities as far as children are concerned.  Some children have difficulty with some of the basic social skills.  Children’s social skills are extremely important – studies have shown that having or acquiring these skills can help a child succeed in academic life, as well as away from it.  That is not to say that having social skills will make a child smarter.  It means that having social skills will make a child better able to learn and succeed in school.

#1 Listen – Children are not always going to listen.  That is a choice. But it is important for them to be able to listen when they need to.  Children need to have some listening skills to be able hear directions being given by parents and teachers.  They also need to know how to listen when their classmates and peers are speaking.  Listening to peers is an important skill.  The child who learns to be a conscientious listener will be able to hear and respond to comments and instructions as he or she gets older.  Conscientious listeners hear more of what the people around them are saying and are able to participate in any conversation in any situation.

#2 Follow – Children are not always going to follow the rules or follow directions.  This is also a choice.  The child should be taught to follow the instructions of the teacher or the parents, and follow the rules of the school of the home.  Teaching a child to follow rules and directions comes from clear communication about the consequences if he or she does not follow the rules and directions. If the child understands the consequences and make the choice not to follow, that is another issue altogether.  He or she needs to better understand why it is important to follow the rules and directions.

#3 Ask for Help – Children need to learn that it is okay to ask for help.  Modelling is the best way to communicate this kind of data.  When you as a parent, guardian, or teacher, need assistance, ask for it.  This will say to the child that asking for help is acceptable and that he or she does not have to do everything alone.  When he or she does ask for help, do not just give the child the answer.  Guide him or her in way that will lead him or her toward the answer or a way of thinking that will lead toward the answer.  Children are not stupid, they just do not have the benefit of experience that adults have.

#4 Be Responsible – Teaching a child to be responsible may be no easy task.  It will be hard on the child and hard on the adult.  You must first ask the child to take responsibility for him or herself.  This means keeping track of his or her belongings, owning up when a wrong has been done, or doing the tasks that have been assigned without a fight.  These are all difficult for children whose primary function to this point has likely been to just be.  Teaching responsibility is a process that will likely take a while to really see the benefits.  Children will forget and misplace things.  They will display unacceptable behaviors and not own up.  They will fight about doing their chores or assignments.  But instilling in them a sense of responsibility will carry over into their adult lives where it will make the most difference.

Children’s Social Skills and Academic Success

Having these social skills and others can help a child succeed in school.  They will be better able to cooperate and practice self-control, which reduces behavior problems and increases the amount of time the whole class spends learning.  Most of these social skills are not taught in the classrooms.  These are things that either children acquire over time or they will need to be taught at home.  As class sizes increase and resources decrease, teachers are often too pressured to be able to deal with the basic social skills that can help children learn.  Children may require some outside help in order to master these skills, and that is completely acceptable.  No matter where your child learns the basics of social interaction and acceptable behavior, he or she will benefit from the knowledge for the rest of his or her life.

Five Ways You Can Help A Child Through Eating Disorder Treatment

Being supportive of someone with an eating disorder can be very difficult, especially when that person is your child.  You feel like you should have been able to protect him or her.  You feel like you are responsible and you could have done something.  But there are some more productive ways that you can spend this time while your child is getting the help that he or she so desperately needs.  There are some things that you should be doing while he or she is in eating disorder treatment.

Do not assign blame

Blaming yourself, blaming your child, or blaming anyone is counterproductive.  Much of the early research done into eating disorders placed all the blame on the parents of the child with the eating disorder.  There are a lot of complex reasons why someone develops an eating disorder.  And most of them have nothing to do with you as the parent.  While it is important to listen and respond to anything that is brought up by your child’s treatment team, placing blame on anyone is unnecessary.  It does not matter where the fault lies.  It does matter that your child is getting the treatment that he or she needs.

Don’t be afraid to talk about it

Keeping your child’s eating disorder a secret only increases the shame and guilt associated with it.  Secrecy and shame are two of the major components of eating disorders.  Many families are intimidated and do not know how to talk about this kind of difficult subject, but that only gives the disorder the power.  Talk about it as a family. Talk about what is going on with your friends and extended family.  If you are not including the people that you trust in this complex and emotionally charged situation in your life then you are not likely to be getting the support that you need.


Stop dealing with your own appearance

That is not to suggest that you should stop taking showers and stop putting on makeup if that is something that you like to do, but spending time thinking about and talking about your weight, your body size, and other issues associated with your relationship to exercise, food, or appearance can be setting an unhealthy example for your child.  He or she is looking to your for guidance, and if you are focused on dieting and how fat you are getting, the message you are sending is one that will end up perpetuating the eating disorder rather than aiding in its treatment.

Get help for yourself and anyone else who needs it

Eating disorders do not just effect the person with the disorder.  They effect the whole family.  You must be honest with yourself about whether or not you need help to deal with this stressful situation.  If you need to seek out professional help, do so, and offer that same option to anyone else in your family who may need it.  Other children in the family will be feeling the strain on you and the eating disorder sufferer.  They may need a little bit of professional help too.  There is no shame in getting help.  Set a good example for everyone by getting the help and support that you need.

Keep hopeful and be patient

Eating disorders are very serious and sometimes deadly diseases, but they are treatable.  There is no reason why your child could not make a complete recovery with the right kinds of help.  Treatment takes time.  Just because you are not seeing immediate results does not mean that the treatment is not working.  These things take time.  Losing your patience is not going to be very helpful for anyone involved.  It might actually be making matters worse.  If you are concerned about the prognosis or about how long treatment is taking, speak with your child’s counselors or treatment team.  He or she may have some insight into the progress your child is making which will ease your mind.

Six Social Skills That Could Help Your Child Succeed

There are many children in the world who have inherent trouble interacting with others. There are a great many reasons why this is true. Regardless of the reasons, having sound social skills can help your child succeed in school, friendship, work and other important aspects of their lives. Social skills are not easily taught, and your child may need training and constant reinforcement so that they can learn how to interact with others and behave in public settings. Children often need a structured environment to learn these very important social skills when they are not leaning them naturally through the life situations and experiences that they go through on a daily basis.

social skills

Social skills may seem like an innate part of some children’s temperament; however, some kids do struggle with what seem to be “easy” social cues, triggers and situations. Here are six social skills to consider if you believe that your child may be struggling with common public settings, situations and experiences in their daily lives.

Communication Skills

There are many skills that go into effective communication. Children often struggle with communicating who they are and what makes them unique to others. This kind of skill is important when building friendships. As children learn to get across their values and interests, they increase their self-acceptance and self-confidence. This helps them make connections with other children.

Many children who have trouble with social interaction choose the wrong tactics for introducing themselves to other children like bragging to try to get attention or hanging back and being ignored. Teachings your child good communications skills with help him or her later in life.

Nonverbal Communication Skills

Nonverbal skills can be just as important as verbal skills. People often pay more attention to the way that words and said and the way a person looks when saying them than they do to what is being said. It has been said that up to 85% of communication is nonverbal.

One of the skills most often taught in nonverbal communication training is body language. Body language consists of facial expressions, eye contact, posture, physical appearance, and awareness of physical distance. Paralanguage is the other most often taught skill. Paralanguage includes accent, inflection, volume, tone and any articulation skills necessary to get the point across. Your child will also need to learn to pick up on these nonverbal cues as well.

Feeling Expression Skills

The ability to express feelings is an important factor in a child’s emotional development. Teaching children to express and control their feelings will not only help them become more socially accepted, but will also help them to develop a good foundation for the rest of their emotional lives. Many psychological professionals believe that emotional and social skills training in childhood can set the foundation for a child to be able to develop more intimate relationships later in life.

Problem Solving Skills

Children are often not given the chance to really explore their own problem solving skills. The adults in their lives are very likely to jump in before the child has really had a chance to make any progress. Children have an amazing capacity to be able to work things out for themselves with a little encouragement. Problem solving skills are mostly developed with real life situations rather than the skills being taught. Exposing your child to a variety of different kinds of situations and different kinds of conversations will give him or her a boost in working things out.

Listening Skills

Listening skills are something that most children struggle with. Listening skills are essential for effective social communication. Many children are so focused on making their own points in a conversation that they forget to listen to what the other person involved in the conversation is saying. The ability to listen and respond appropriately is part of some children’s temperament, but if they are not, they can be fueled and encouraged.

Children who have trouble with listening skills are usually screened for other kinds of problems before skills training begins. It is possible that he or she has a learning disability or a hearing problem that is keeping him or her from responding appropriately. Once these items are ruled out, then listening skills training can begin.

Conflict Management Skills

Conflict between children (and adults for that matter) is inevitable. Your child’s ability to resolve minor conflict will be a major part of his or her social success. Studies suggest that teaching children positive alternatives to anger and fighting are the most direct way to reduce public behavioral problems. When adults are not present, groups of children tend to be led by the most outgoing of the group, but conflict management skills can lead your child to become a different kind of group leader. Other children will begin to turn to your child when they need help.

Being patient with your child while he or she goes through the process of learning social skills is essential. Your patience with them will teach them a lesson in itself. It may not always be easy, but getting your child help with learning certain social skills can help ensure that your child has a happy healthy, and successful future.


The Long-Term Effects of Name-Calling on a Child

It doesn’t take a child psychiatrist to know that calling children negative names can be cruel and hurtful. But according to new research, the names children are called can do long-term damage, even going so far as to influence the adults they become.

Being Called Fat Influences Girls’ Appearance in Young Adulthood

The new study, from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), involved 1,166 white girls and 1,213 African-American girls living in Cincinnati, Northern California and Washington D.C. Fifty-eight percent of these girls had been labeled “too fat” by parents, teachers, classmates or other relatives by the time they reached age 10.

The researchers measured the girls’ height and weight at the beginning of the study period and again at the end of the study period, nine years later. They found that those girls who had been labeled “too fat” by peers, teachers or relatives at the beginning of the study period were 1.66 times more likely than those who had not been called “too fat” to be obese at the age of 19. Furthermore, the researchers found that the chances of a girl being considered obese at age 19 increased along with the number of people who told her she was overweight.

UCLA psychologists were surprised at the finding. “Simply being labeled as too fat has a measurable effect almost a decade later. We nearly fell off our chairs when we discovered this,” said the senior author of the study, A. Janet Tomiyama PhD.

Our child psychiatrist points out that the results remained true even after the researchers adjusted for other factors that could have influenced the children’s weight, like income, race and age of puberty. “It’s not just that heavier girls are being called fat and are still heavy years later; being labeled as too fat is creating an additional likelihood of being obese,” Tomiyama said.

Name-Calling Changes Children’s Behavior

Study co-author Jeffrey Hunger, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, believes that calling children negative names changes their behavior, making them more likely to live up to the expectation that the name implies. “Being labeled as too fat may lead people to worry about personally experiencing the stigma and discrimination faced by overweight individuals, and recent research suggests that experiencing or anticipating weight stigma increases stress and can lead to overeating,” he said.

Our child psychiatrist would like to emphasize that these behavior changes are unconscious on the child’s part. Teased and belittled children do not choose to behave in ways that align with the negative names they are called. Nevertheless, calling children negative names – even when you have good intentions – can have long-term physical and psychological consequences. If you think your child has suffered name-calling, he or she needs the help of a child psychiatrist right away to nip in the bud any unconscious behaviors that could make those negative names manifest in the child’s personality as he or she grows older.

Psychological Effects of Childhood Name-Calling from a Child Psychiatrist

While researchers in this study looked at the long-term consequences of criticizing a child’s weight, calling children any negative names at all can have devastating effects in the long term, according to our child psychiatrist. Here are some common criticisms children face that can alter their behavior for the worse:

  • You never pay attention.
  • You can’t do anything right.
  • You’re a loser.
  • Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?
  • Why do you always have to be so disobedient?
  • You don’t know the first thing about that, you’re going to screw it up.
  • Why can’t you just get along with people?

Children don’t have the wherewithal to ignore these negative messages from parents, peers, teachers and relatives. When children hear negative messages about themselves, they assume those messages are true. Without appropriate intervention by a child psychiatrist, children will internalize these messages and begin to embody them in their behaviors and personality. Many such children lack the inner resources to break out of the trap of negative self-belief as adults. Even when they do, it can take years of hard work and extensive psychotherapy, essentially robbing children of their right to fulfilling adult lives.

If your child is enduring negative name-calling, he or she could benefit greatly from the help of a child psychiatrist.

Call Proliance Center @ 561-338-7725 today to learn more about high quality mental health treatment.

Finding The Right Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL

There are many things to consider in a search for a Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL.  One of these, of course, is how much training and experience the Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL has.  This is important for obvious reason, but it is also important that the Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL has have sufficient experience in treating other individuals with problems similar to yours.  How many patients like you have they treated?  Do they treat all ages and have a full understanding of your problem throughout the life cycle or do they only focus on a specific age group?  Is the Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL Board Certified?  Or better yet, do they have multiple Board Certifications?

Another thing to consider in a search for a Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL is where they are located.  Are they close to your home or place of work?  Are they easy to get to?  This may not seem like a big deal at first until you start considering how visits to this Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL will fit into your busy life.  For other people this is not a concern and they may be willing to drive farther provided they find the right person.

This leads to another important consideration.  What is this Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL like?  Are they easy to talk to?  Do they seem caring and empathetic?  Is this Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL someone you would be comfortable sharing your most sensitive concerns with?  Many people don’t stop to consider this until they have suffered a bad experience with a prior provider.  How would you know this without seeing that Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL, though?  One way is to get a feeling for what the office staff of that Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL is like?  Are they warm and friendly, approachable and easy to talk to?  The fact is, they are often a reflection of the Doctor themselves.  Why is this so?  If that Child Psychiatrist in Boca Raton FL treats them with kindness they will likely do the same for you.

Remember, you are not only seeking help, you will be testing out a new relationship to see if it works out.  You can do this several times or get it right the first time.  Here at Proliance Center we look forward to the opportunity to work with you.  Give us a call today.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & ADD

What is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an often-misunderstood condition, which is not only over diagnosed, but under diagnosed as well.  While Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health disorders of childhood, ADHD is not just a childhood disorder.  The symptoms affect children, teens, and adults.  Recent national surveys have documented an increase in the prevalence of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) during the past decade.  In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (more simply known as the CDC), it is estimated that in the United States alone approximately 8 percent of children ages 3-17 years have ever been diagnosed with ADHD.  This includes 11 percent of boys’ ages 3-17 years old and nearly 6 percent of girls’ ages 3-17 years old.  This stunning fact means that around 5 million children from the ages of 3-17 years old have been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the United States.  In childhood, ADHD is more common in boys than girls by a ratio of 3 to 1, but by adulthood this ratio seems to even out.  The symptoms of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.  Nearly everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, but ADHD lasts more than 6 months and in affected individuals these symptoms frequently lead to problems in several areas of a person’s life.  These include academic, school, occupation, family, home, relationships and social settings.  They begin in childhood and often persist into adulthood. The specific causes and risk factors for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are unknown, but genetic factors do play a large role.  The appropriate diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) should involve several steps, including a medical exam; a checklist for rating Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms based on reports from parents, teachers, and sometimes the child; and an evaluation for coexisting conditions.

Why is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Over Diagnosed?

There are a number of conditions or problems that can mimic the distractibility, impulsivity and hyperactivity usually associated with ADHD.  For instance, while a lack of focus (distractibility) is considered by many to be suggestive of ADHD there are actually two things that must be present for one to focus:  Attention and Concentration.  Attention problems may certainly be the result of ADHD, but certain kinds of Seizures can affect this as well.  The second is concentration.  There are a number of things that if present can cause problems with concentration and lead someone to be diagnosed with ADHD, when the real problem is something else.  Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Tourette’s Disorder, Poor Nutrition, High Levels of Lead in the Blood and Poor Sleep can all lead to a decrease in concentration, which would then cause focusing problems.  Impulsivity and hyperactivity can also occur with Anxiety, Tourette’s Disorder, Poor Sleep, Poor Nutrition (such as Foods with Sugar, Food Additives, and Dyes) and Bipolar Disorder.  Additionally, the level of acceptable hyperactivity varies depending on ones age.  So while one could expect a 5 year old to be running around a fountain at a public park, we wouldn’t expect it from a 15 year old.

Why is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Under Diagnosed?

Some critics of ADHD allege that children with problematic behavior are often diagnosed with ADHD when the behavior may result from other causes.  These critics are correct and this underscores the need to have individuals evaluated correctly.  Other critics state that some children diagnosed with ADHD, or labeled ADHD by parents or teachers, are normal but do not behave in the way that responsible adults want them to behave.  This too is important, given that parents often see kids as a reflection of themselves or are afraid of how others may view them.  As a result, they can be overly critical of normal childhood behavior due to fear of embarrassment or being wrongly judged.

Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Occur in Adults ?

It is now known that in 60% of children ADHD symptoms can continue into adulthood.   That amounts to 4% of the US adult population, or roughly 8 – 10 million adults. However, few adults are identified or treated for adult ADHD.   Additionally, while ADHD affects males at a higher rate than females in childhood, this ratio seems to even out by adulthood.  Adults with ADHD may have trouble in a number of areas that can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, occupational and academic problems.  These include chronic lateness, forgetfulness, problems concentrating and following directions.  They also include problems organizing tasks and completing work within time limits.   Furthermore, they can result in impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, and chronic feelings of boredom, difficulty controlling anger and more.  These behaviors can be mild to severe and can vary with the situation or be present all of the time.   For instance, some adults with ADHD can be withdrawn and antisocial, or they can be overly social and unable to be alone.  Some are able to concentrate if they are interested in or excited about what they are doing (such as something that gives their brain a “Wow”). Others may have difficulty focusing under any circumstances.  Some will look for stimulation, but others avoid it.  Adults with ADHD are more likely to have had a history of poor educational performance, been underachievers in school, had more frequent school disciplinary actions, repeated a grade or dropped out of school.  As a result of all these challenges, they can end up with anxiety, mood swings, depression, substance abuse or addiction, low self-esteem and relationship problems.  Adults with ADHD are more likely to smoke cigarettes, have driving violations such as: be cited for speeding; have their licenses suspended; be involved in more crashes; rate themselves and others as using poorer driving habits.  They may have a lower socioeconomic status, and use illegal substances more frequently.

How Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Affect Teenagers?

Incredibly, ADHD teens can have about four times the amount of traffic citations, four times as many car wrecks and are seven times more likely to be involved in a second car accident as non-ADHD teens.  In school they can have problems with authority figures, exhibit verbal hostility, defiance and non-compliance.   As teenagers 21% repeatedly skip school, 30% fail subjects and repeat a year of school, 35% get suspended and 35% drop out of school. It is important to diagnose and treat ADHD in teens with some form of child psychiatry.

Is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Genetic?

There is strong evidence that genetics plays a role in the risk of getting ADHD. In fact, a study conducted in 2009 concluded that genetics account for about 75 percent of the risk.  Additionally, it runs in families, to the point that 40% of ADHD children have at least one parent with ADHD.   Specific studies have found that kids with ADHD were more likely to have small parts of their DNA that were duplicates or missing.  These deletion or duplication of genetic material is called copy number variants or CNVs.  However, this research did not conclude that ADHD is entirely genetically based.  In fact, human development includes both genetic origins of behavior and the direct influence that environmental forces have on the expression of those genes (nature vs. nurture).  Simply put, how our genes express themselves is greatly impacted by our environment.  This is important because increased environmental stress can, in effect, turn ON genes that were previously in the OFF position.  Presently, once these genes are turned ON and ADHD is expressed (present in the individual) the genes cannot be turned OFF.  However, while there is no cure for it, treatments can in effect “dim the lights” to the point that someone can appear as if they don’t have ADHD, provided they continue with treatment.

How Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Lead to Academic or School Impairment?

It is estimated that in a classroom of 30 students there are about 1 to 3 children with ADHD.  65% of ADHD children have problems with authority figures, exhibit verbal hostility, defiance, temper tantrums and non-compliance. About 25% of ADHD students have additional learning problems that can be serious. These include problems with listening skills, oral expression, reading comprehension and mathematics.  50% of ADHD students have problems with listening comprehension.  33% of ADHD students have language deficits, poor organizational skills, poor fine motor skills and poor memory.  ADHD children are three times more likely to have problems with expressive language.  As teenagers 21% repeatedly skip school, 30% fail subjects and repeat a year of school, 35% get suspended and 35% drop out of school.  Adults with ADHD are more likely to have had a history of poor educational performance, been underachievers in school, had more frequent school disciplinary actions, repeated a grade or dropped out of school.   Some people have misconceptions about ADHD, such as that those with ADHD are lazy or dumb.  The truth is that anyone of any level of intelligence can have ADHD and the higher one’s intelligence the longer they can go without being detected.  The reason for this is that when someone has the distractibility that comes with ADHD, but is highly intelligent, they can afford to miss information and still get by.  However, as the difficulty of subjects increases with advancing years, this becomes more difficult and people can no longer simply “wing it” by not fully listening in class or preparing for exams.  This is why many adults escape detection until college, graduate school, law or medical school.  Another misconception is that medicine for ADHD can make you smart.  The reality is that it just gives you back your own brain so you can use it.  People with the distractibility of ADHD are often unable to read something in spite of deciding they NEED to read it.  They find themselves thinking or daydreaming of other things as they are reading, to the point that they get to the end of a page and realize they don’t know what they just read.  Medicines do help with this tremendously and dramatically to the point people often feel as if someone turned on a light in their brain.

How Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Lead to Occupational Impairment?

Adults with ADHD are more likely to have problems organizing tasks, completing work within time limits, forgetfulness, and problems concentrating and following directions.  This leads to fewer occupational achievements, promotions, etc.  Due to impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, and difficulty controlling anger, they have a difficult time interacting with their peers and managing others.  They may also be chronically late and procrastinate a lot.  As a result they change employers frequently and perform poorly.

How Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Lead to Family, Home or Relationship Impairment?

Due to impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, and difficulty controlling anger, parents with an ADHD child are three times as likely to separate or divorce as parents who don’t have an ADHD child.   Adults with ADHD are more likely to have more marital problems and multiple marriages.  They also have a higher incidence of separation and divorce.  However, most of these problems that are related to ADHD can improve with appropriate treatment.

How Does Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Lead to Social Impairment?

In childhood the rate of emotional development for a person with ADHD can be 30% slower than the emotional development of a similar person without ADHD.  Therefore, a 10-year-old child with ADHD operates at a 7-year-old maturity level.  Also ADHD children are three times more likely to have problems with expressive language, making communication with peers a challenge.  The impulsiveness, low frustration tolerance, and difficulty controlling anger that can be present in ADHD, make establishing and maintaining friendships more difficult.  Children often want to at least take turns and get tired of someone who always has to play their way.  Adults too cannot deal well with people who get angry and easily upset all the time.

Does Medicine for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Make You Smart?

Some people have misconceptions about ADHD, such as that those with ADHD are lazy or dumb.  The truth is that anyone of any level of intelligence can have ADHD and the higher one’s intelligence the longer they can go without being detected, despite being distractible.  The reason for this is that when someone has the distractibility that comes with ADHD, but is highly intelligent, they can afford to miss information and still get by.  However, as the difficulty of the subject increases with advancing years, this becomes more difficult and people can no longer simply “wing it” by not fully listening in class or preparing for exams.  This is why many adults escape detection until college, graduate school, law or medical school.  Another misconception is that medicine for ADHD can make you smart.  The reality is that it just gives you back your own brain so you can use it.  People with the distractibility of ADHD are often unable to read something in spite of deciding they need to read it.  They find themselves thinking or daydreaming of other things as they are reading, to the point that they get to the end of a page and realize they don’t know what they just read.  Medicines do help with this tremendously and dramatically to the point people often feel as if someone turned on a light in their brain.

How Do You Diagnose Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

The appropriate diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) should involve several steps, including a medical exam; a checklist for rating Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms based on reports from parents, teachers, and sometimes the child; and an evaluation for coexisting conditions.

What Are There Different Types of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Primarily Inattentive Type – ADD

The general public tends to refer to this as simply ADD, because of the lack of the hyperactivity (the H), but in reality it is also a form of ADHD.  The reason for this is that while the majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present, hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.  Children with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.  Children who have symptoms of inattention may:  be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, start but not finish things and frequently switch from one activity to another.  They may have difficulty focusing on one thing; become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable; have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new; have trouble completing or turning in homework assignments; often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities; seem not to listen when spoken to directly; daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly; have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others; struggle to follow instructions.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

In this subtype, most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.  Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.  Children who have symptoms of hyperactivity may:  fidget and squirm in their seats, talk nonstop, run around, touch or play with anything and everything in sight, have trouble sitting still (such as during dinner, school, and story time), be constantly in motion, have difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.  Children who have symptoms of impulsivity may: be very impatient, blurt out inappropriate comments, often interrupt conversations or others’ activities, show their emotions without restraint, act without regard for consequences, have difficulty waiting for things they want or waiting their turns in games, etc.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Combined Type

Most children have the combined type of ADHD.  It includes the presence of six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity.

What Does a MEDICAL Exam for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Involve?

Unfortunately, no single test can diagnose a person as having ADHD.  Instead, a licensed medical health professional (such as a Medical Doctor who completed a 4 year medical school and a further 3-6 years of Residency Training) needs to gather information about the person, and his or her behavior and environment.  This is important because there are a number of MEDICAL causes and conditions that can appear like ADHD.  A mother’s pregnancy history can increase the risk for ADHD, such as the use of cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs during pregnancy.  In addition, preschoolers who are exposed to high levels of lead may have a higher risk of developing ADHD.  Lead is a danger for them because it can sometimes be found in plumbing fixtures, well water, and old building paints and in some older Chinese made toys.  Individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may show some behaviors similar to those of ADHD.  Those with undetected seizures could appear hyperactive, impulsive and/or inattentive.  A middle ear infection or any undetected hearing or vision problems can cause someone to “miss” things and appear inattentive.  Learning disabilities can do this as well.   Anxiety or depression, or other psychiatric problems can lead to ADHD-like symptoms, because they affect a person’s concentration and subsequently will decrease their focus.  Environmental changes and stressors can cause this too.  Things such as a significant or sudden change in the individual’s life (death of a family member or friend, a divorce, a parent’s job loss, school stress/bullying, new school, new home, new town, new country) can seriously impact a person’s ability to concentrate and focus.  This is why a specialist will often review school and medical records for clues, to see if the child’s home or school settings appear unusually stressful or disrupted, and gather information from the child’s parents and teachers.  Babysitters, coaches, and other adults who know the child well also may be consulted.  Some families may want to first talk with the child’s pediatrician. Some pediatricians can assess the child themselves, but many will refer the family to a Child Psychiatrist with experience in childhood mental health challenges such as ADHD. The pediatrician, or preferably a medical health professional that specializes in mental health challenges (Child Psychiatrist or Psychiatrist) will first try to rule out other possibilities for the symptoms.  A specialist will investigate whether the behaviors are excessive and long-term, and do they affect all aspects of the person’s life?  Do they happen more often in this person or child compared with the person or child’s peers?  Are the behaviors a continuous problem or a response to a temporary situation?  Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one place, such as the playground, classroom, home or work?  The specialist will pay close attention to the individual’s behavior during different situations.  Some situations are highly structured, but some have less structure. Others would require the person to keep paying attention. Most children with ADHD are better able to control their behaviors in situations where they are getting individual attention and when they are free to focus on enjoyable activities. The same is true of adults. These types of situations are less important in the assessment.  A child also may be evaluated to see how he or she acts in social situations, and may be given tests of intellectual ability and academic achievement to see if he or she has a learning disability.  Finally, if after gathering all this information the child meets the criteria for ADHD, he or she will be diagnosed with the disorder.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Checklists for Rating ADHD Symptoms – new content coming soon

What are Some Coexisting Conditions that Occur in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

65% of ADHD children have problems with authority figures, and exhibit verbal hostility, defiance, temper tantrums and non-compliance and many are diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  50% of ADHD children also have sleep problems.   These can range from poor sleep habits, restlessness in bed, sleep apnea, sleepwalking and Enuresis (bedwetting).   Many parents believe that foods with sugar, food additives, and dyes make their children more hyperactive.  However, while this may be true, these foods have not been shown to cause ADHD.  There is also a relationship between high levels of lead in the blood and distractibility.  But again, this doesn’t cause ADHD and the treatment involves getting rid of the extra lead in the body.  Sometimes individuals with certain types of seizures (i.e. Absence Seizures) can appear to have the distractibility of ADHD as they are seen to be “starring into space”.  While this is easily treated with medication once identified, its identification is imperative, as many of the medications used to treat ADHD can make this problem worse.  ADHD can also occur with and or lead to a Depression if it remains untreated for a long time.  The reason for this may not just be genetics, but an environment of failure across several areas of an individual’s life that eventually erode their self-esteem and lead to depression.  ADHD can occur with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other Anxiety Disorders (Generalized Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Panic Disorder, PTSD, etc).  This is important to find out for several reasons.  Some of the medications used to treat ADHD can make OCD and or Anxiety worse.  Additionally, having OCD or Anxiety affect concentration and focus and lead some to mistake them for the inattentive features of ADHD.  Tourette’s Disorder, is also common and can co-occur with ADHD.  It can cause repetitive involuntary movements of the eyes, nose, mouth, face, neck, head, arms, hands, etc. and vocal sounds such as throat clearing, coughing, clicking, grunting or sneezing sounds.  Often many of the symptoms of Tourette’s Disorder can be confused for those of ADHD and are only identified by the characteristic movements these individuals have, that only those trained to identify them can detect.  Additionally, these symptoms can be made worse by many of the very same medications used to treat ADHD and require special planning and management when treating with medications.  ADHD can also occur with Bipolar Disorder and given that several symptoms of ADHD, in childhood are also common to Bipolar Disorder the likelihood of a misdiagnosis or the wrong diagnosis is high.  So while increase energy, distractibility, and pressured speech commonly occur in ADHD and Bipolar Disorder, irritability, grandiosity, racing thoughts, decrease need for sleep, euphoria/elation, poor judgment, flight of ideas and hyper sexuality generally occur only with bipolar disorder.  This too is important to know, because some of the treatments for ADHD can worsen or bring out symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Treatment

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Treatment often includes medicines to control symptoms. But some form of child psychiatry is imperative for children and teens who are dealing with ADHD. For example, structure at home and at school is also important. Parenting classes or behavioral therapy may also help.  – new content coming soon

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