ADD / ADHD Community
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Avatar universal

It Dosen't have to be ADD /ADHD

      Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can stem from thyroid disorders, liver or pancreatic problems, adrenal gland abnormalities, or insufficient diet.

      Hyper or hypothyroidism is an imbalance in metabolism that occurs from an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones. This imbalance may cause a variety of behaviors and may affect all body functions.


      Some mild forms of genetic disorders can go unnoticed in children and display some of the same symptoms of ADHD.  Mild forms of Turner's syndrome, sickle-cell anemia, and Fragile X syndrome are some examples.  Almost any genetic disorder can cause hyperactivity or other behavior problems, even if the disorder isn't normally linked to such problems. Many genetic diseases disrupt brain functions directly, through a variety of paths. A simple blood test can rule out genetic disorders.


      A commonly overlooked cause of ADHD behavior is the absence seizure. During an absence seizure, the brain's normal activity shuts down. The child stares blankly, sometimes rotates his eyes upward, and occasionally blinks or jerks repetitively, he drops objects from his hand, and there may be some mild involuntary movements known as automatisms. The attack lasts for a few seconds and then it is over as rapidly as it begins. If these attacks occur dozens of times each day, they can interfere with a child's school performance and be confused by parents and teachers with daydreaming.


      Post-traumatic subclinical seizure disorder causes episodic temper explosions. These fits of temper come out of the blue for no reason.  Some of these seizures can be too subtle to detect without a twenty-four-hour electroencephalogram (EEG).


      Temporal lobe seizures can cause inappropriate behavior. That's why conducting brain scans is a must when trying to figure out behavior problems.

      Head injuries, such as post-concussion syndrome, have symptoms that include irritability, mood swings, memory problems, depression, and sleeping problems.

      Some spinal problems can cause ADHD behavior because, if the spine is not connected to the brain properly, nerves from the spinal cord can give the brain all of signals at once making a child rambunctious and full of energy.

      Some drugs (both prescription and illegal) can cause the brain to atrophy, leading to disturbed cognition and behavior.  If your child routinely takes prescription or over-the-counter medications for asthma, hay fever, allergies, headaches, or any other condition, consider the possibility that the drugs are causing or contributing to behavior problems.

      Intentionally or unintentionally sniffing materials such as modeling glue or other household product.

Other possible causes of ADHD behavior are:


      Malnutrition or improper diet

      B-vitamin deficiency

      Iron deficiency

      Lack of exercise

      Lack of sleep

      Viral or bacterial infections

      Early-onset diabetes

      Heart disease

      Brain cysts

      Early-stage brain tumors

Medication Concerns

Although no chemical imbalance has ever been proven, health professionals prescribe psychostimulant medication (such as Ritalin, Strattera, Adderall) as the primary treatment in correcting the 'chemical imbalance'.  In 2000, more than 19 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs were filled, a 72% increase since 1995.

However, with the known side effects of these drugs and without knowledge or evidence of long-term results on growth and development, is medication really the best option?

However, these drugs are not without serious risk.  Between the years of 1990-2000, over 569 children were hospitalized, 38 of them were life-threatening hospitalizations, and 186 died from Ritalin.

It is well known that psychostimulants have abuse potential.  Very high doses of psychostimulants, particularly of amphetamines, may cause central nervous system damage, cardiovascular damage, and hypertension.  In addition, high doses have been associated with compulsive behaviors and, in certain vulnerable individuals, movement disorders.  There is a rare percentage of children and adults treated at high doses who have hallucinogenic responses.  Drugs used for ADHD other than psychostimulants have their own adverse reactions: tricyclic antidepressants may induce cardiac arrhythmias, bupropion at high doses can cause seizures, and pemoline is associated with liver damage. -- Diagnosis and Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, National Institute of Health

Many parents do not realize that if their child takes Ritalin or other psychostimulant medication past the age of 12, according to the 1999 Military Recruitment Manual, that child may not join the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, or National Guard until after a doctor has signed a paper stating that the person has been off the medication for four years.

Also, if a child uses Ritalin or other psychostimulant medication, the state or federal government cannot hire him or her if the job involves state secrets or national security, because that child is a Class 2 drug user.

If a child uses Ritalin or other psychostimulant medication, some insurance companies will turn down that child for being a Class 2 drug user, and may even turn down the entire family.  Other health insurance companies will raise rates and write in a pre-existing condition clause, excluding some coverage for the ADD/ADHD child.

Psychostimulant medication are drugs that are commonly abused.  Some unprescribed users of Adderall, an amphetamine, and methylphenidate, more widely known as Ritalin, are adults.  But experts say many are young people, as young as 11, who get the drugs from peers being treated for ADD.  Users often crush the pills and snort them to get a cocaine-like rush, as these drugs and cocaine have more similarities than differences.

Students who take ADD/ADHD medication are often asked to sell or trade their drugs, and many know students who have given away or sold their medication.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a study of students in Wisconsin and Minnesota showed 34% of ADHD youth, ages 11-18, report being approached to sell or trade their medicines, such as Ritalin.

There are so many concerns surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of ADD/ADHD that parents must be knowledgeable and cautious.  It is usually the school that approaches parents to have an assessment for ADD/ADHD and parents often feel pressured in having the traditional ************** to 'correct' their child's behavior.

What should parents do if the school identifies a child with potentially having ADD/ADHD?

      Have the school put their concerns and directions in writing.  Hold them accountable.

      If the school tells you that your child needs medication to control his or her behavior, remind them that medical help does not necessarily mean taking medication.
      If you are told to sign a release for your child's medical records, ask to see that law in writing.

21 Responses
Avatar universal
Whenever you have a school conference or go before a school review board, record that meeting on a tape recorder.  The recorder should be in plain sight.  If you are told that the meeting is confidential, remember that confidentiality is your child's right -- not the school's right

      The federal government allots over $2 billion to local school systems under the Individual Development Assistance Act of 1985.  Ask the school officials how much money their school and school system gets when a child is coded as needing special education services.

      Find out what percentage of students in the school system are taking ADD/ADHD medication.  The average number is between 3-5%.

I have seen  what these drugs have done to people who have taken them when they are young and how if affects them when they get older.
757137 tn?1347196453
Good work. I hope parents read this carefully.
973741 tn?1342342773
My son has sensory integration disorder which can look like add/adhd but is different.  Both affect the nervous system but you don't medicate for sensory integration disorder.  You do occupational therapy and that is also who diagnosis it.  Sensory can be present in add/adhd but it can also be alone.  Sensory is often confused for add/adhd and this is terrible for the child in question.  

All parents should educate themselves with as much information as possible when trying to decipher what is going on with their child.  That is prudent and we owe it to our kids.  We are their advocates.
189897 tn?1441126518
First, it is common practice when you are quoting an article as you did in the first post to say where you got the article from.  That way others have a chance to see where that  info came from.

Second,  the schools are getting federal assistance for special education because it is mandated that they provide assistance for those children who qualify.  If they were not getting special funding, those children would not be getting the help they need. I very seriously doubt that any schools gets enough aid to cover the actual costs of special education help.  All schools would be financially ahead of the game if they could just ignore children who need help, and treat them like they did in the 50's and 60's - which was to ignore their needs.

Third, you said that were more than 19 million prescriptions  made for ADHD drugs in 2000 and 569 kids were hospitalized.  That is less than .003% or three thousandths of a percent.  That is less of a risk than virtually anything you can think of.  I think it is even less than Toyota motor corporations cars have caused.

I think your best point is that is "medication really the best option"?   It is something that is individual and based on the needs of the child (and unfortunately the needs of the parent).  You justifiably point out many things that can seem like ADHD, which aren't.  Yet, for the vast majority of kids who have ADHD you almost make it sound like a sin to have this impairment.  What do you have to say for all of those kids who actually do have ADHD and are suffering?  Or for their families?  
Avatar universal
First any info I post can be found on line.

Second,  the schools are getting federal assistance for special education because it is mandated that they provide assistance for those children who qualify.  If they were not getting special funding, those children would not be getting the help they need. I very seriously doubt that any schools gets enough aid to cover the actual costs of special education help.  All schools would be financially ahead of the game if they could just ignore children who need help, and treat them like they did in the 50's and 60's - which was to ignore their needs.

Second  -  you can tell that you us to work in the School system ,so  you think they do everything right and you in my mind don't have an open mind.
The problem is that the Schools want to get all this money and they don't want to do there job. They want all kids to sit like little Angles and to have it easy on them. And when it is not they can't handle it, so drug the child , how many of them would drug there own child ,they wouldn't they just want to drug other peoples kids.

I have only seen 7 Teacher's in my life that really care about Teaching and kids and don't care about the Money and don't look at the children and there parents in a bad way.

ADD and ADHD was something that was given to Children who didn't do what others thou they should and only makes kids and Parents feel bad about who they are and what there children are and that they must be doing something wrong.

When truth be told God gave us or Children to love know matter what they are like and not drug them. Would you give a Child a beer , No ,because it is not healthy for them and yet we give them something else that is not good for them. How many Parents have ask God is it Ok to drug his Child .The problem is now days everyone wants things to easy and know one wants to do the work.

When a Baby is in the Mothers womb the Mother and Doctors do everything to keep the Baby safe and all the Parents want is a Health Baby with 5 Fingers and 5 Toes.And all the Organs to work right.  Then something changes they want more. .

What has happen to let kids be kids.And letting them learn from there own mistakes.

I have talk to a man who's Parents mad him take drugs when he was young ,And now he hates having anyone tell him what to do and his marriage is ending in A Divorce.
I know another family that was told there young son could never be in a regular class with other children because  he was out of control and couldn't learn.
They sent there Child to live with his Grandmother in another state and they erased his records and put him in with a regular class and back a grade ,because they said if he has been there sooner they could have helped him,This Child is now getting A's and B's and not on any drugs. Had the School where he had been had there way this child would have been on Drugs and still having a hard time in School and not  Learning .

We need to step up and do our job as Parents and fight for our Children and if  that means if we need to change School ,move , get help for  our self's to be better Parents .There is no book that comes with our Children and no two Children are alike .We need to step into our Children's shoes and see how we would feel if we where them .
189897 tn?1441126518
    Boy, do I agree with you that, "The problem is now days everyone wants things to easy and know one wants to do the work."    
   I know you got your post from online.  It is just common practice when you quote an entire article to name the online source so that other people can also check it out.  
   Still not sure what you view ADHD as?  Is it just a label that kids get when they are bad or their parents (or teacheres) can't control them?  Or do you think it is an actual neurobehavioral developmental disorder?
  I definitely DON'T think that schools do everything right.  In fact I have a number of posts on this forum advising parents how to force (or work) with their school to do the right thing for their child.  I stand by what I said (and I can quote the public laws) that the federal government makes schools deal with children who have disabilities and they (only partially) pay the schools for the services.  In fact, if the schools refuse to provide these services the parents can sue the schools for a lot of money.
  I LOVE your last paragraph.
973741 tn?1342342773
I am not sure if there is really this push by schools to label children for extra funds to be honest with you.  I came to our school telling them of my son's delay.  It is a medical condition documented in his records.  They took a wait and see approach and he is doing quite well and thus, does not require an IEP or services at this time.  His teacher on her own has made some simple accomodations in the classroom with no formal request to do so.  Under the above theory, it was there perfect chance to just make money off a child by claiming him disabled/special needs.  They chose not to do so.  I've actually been quite impressed with the school system and the way they have ethically handled the situation.  
There are bad experiences out there that have made the circumstances of these various opinions. . . but I have not seen anything I'm disappointed in as a mother.
Avatar universal
Still not sure what you view ADHD as?  Is it just a label that kids get when they are bad or their parents (or teacheres) can't control them?  Or do you think it is an actual neurobehavioral developmental disorder?

My view is that it seems if a child has a hard time learning or is hipper,witch children should have more energy then Adults do .Then the Child or Adult must have ADD OR ADHD. So the easy way out is to drug them with out thinking about what the side effects for them are down the road. These drugs go to there brain and that is not good .
Unless they can find something in the person brain showing that something is not normal then they shouldn't give them something that effects the brain.This drugs are just a way for money to be made and they sure are making a lot of money .And at risk of peoples lives. I feel like a drug shouldn't be taken unless you have to for pain or something that could take your life if you don't take it.  People who have a hard time learning or who are hipper will live fine with out taken the drugs and won't die if they don't have them.  They just need to do the work by finding out why they have a hard time learning . And the only way to be sure there is a Medical reason for your brain not working right is to get an MRI and a EEG. if they come up normal.Then people need to do what ever it takes to learn.We all learn in different ways . And some teacher are not good for all student.

I do not believe anyone should take these drugs.

I would bet if ever person who is on ADD or ADHD drugs went and had there blood levels checked and had a EEG done they would find out it is really something else and not ADD or ADHD.

And some it has to do with where you live and where you go to School and how they have been treated by people.Stress can play a big part of this,even if they think they are not stress. And no I don't think they should have drugs for Stress eight ,should talk to someone weather it be at School or home or Mental Health.
Avatar universal
please take a look at these video's  .







now most people seeing these wouldn't know the person was having a seizure,they would think the child is not listening.And that the person has ADD or ADHD

after anyone watches these video's tell me what you think. I deal with this every day now.and not all night time seizures and day seizures can be seen,they can be missed.   This is what happen to my son after being on drugs for ADD and ADHD
973741 tn?1342342773
I feel really terrible for those that have had such bad experiences.  But that just doesn't speak to everyone.  

I do not believe in a one size fits all approach to children. Those that say that a child falls outside of normal must  have add/adhd. Let's medicate them all.

OR those who say no child has add/adhd and to medicate them would be evil.  

Extremes are always hard for me to go with.  That is my honest opinion.

I am beyond grateful to the teacher that identified my child as having a developmental delay.  She changed the course of my child's life.  He is happy and well adjusted and I believe in my heart of hearts would not be had I turned my back on his needs.  
Avatar universal
I am very glad you your son was not of the children who have been misdiagnosed and that you have not put him on any drugs. He will be better because of it .And yes it is nice if you can find a good Teacher .there seems to be very little of them out there.
As I have have said I have only seen a few good Teachers. The rest I don't know why they ever went into Teaching in the first place.
189897 tn?1441126518
   Really good videos!  
I worked for several years with children in a special ed class who would have both absence seizures and convulsive seizures.  I wished we could of had videos like these to show other kids in the school, so they would have understood what was going on.  The one on convulsive seizures is really good.  Its quite scary when a child has a seizure like that!
  I would hate to think that anybody could mistake a seizure for ADD or ADHD.  There is a world of difference!  But I guess that's one reason why they let Doctors make the decision and not teachers or parents.
Avatar universal
I would hate to think that anybody could mistake a seizure for ADD or ADHD.  There is a world of difference.

You might think that but not everyone knows what a Seizure looks like.I myself didn't know about  all different Seizures until my son started having them.And if you watched the Video where the Teacher thou the child was just daydreaming you can see where a Teacher doesn't no,it was the child next to the girl who told the Teacher that she just had a Seizure.   My son Teacher's didn't know my son was having them ,it was a School Nurse who told me she thou my son was having them.And I myself didn't know my son was having them and the Neurologist yelled at me for not knowing he was having them. And not all of my Son Seizures can be seen by just looking at him.

People don't understand that some Seizures can't be seen ,and some people have night time Seizures and thou's are hard to see .Because it just looks like they are sleeping . If you where to watch my son he would have a lot of Seizures that you would miss seeing because he just keeps doing what ever he was doing  .

When I have talk to the Epilepsy Foundation they have told me that a lot of time's ADD and ADHD  is what a lot of what parents thou there child had and there child was on drugs for it.Because ADD and ADHD can look like Seizures and the drugs can also cause Seizures.So unless a person is checked for Seizures first that it could be misdiagnosed.

This month the Doctor's watch to do a blood test on my son to see if the Seizures are inherited Seizure.They have to send them to Boston so it will take a while for them to come back,and the blood work is being done only in Neurologist office on March 25th .  
189897 tn?1441126518
   Some really good points in the videos.  One of the videos stated that the seizures in children could start from age 6 to 12.   That's typically the time that ADD or ADHD begins to be treated.  So yes, it would be important to know that  a child was not prone to seizures before starting treatment if you choose to go the medication route.
   I can understand where a seizure might be confused with ADD.  I think it would be very difficult to confuse ADHD with a seizure.  

   One of the things I like about the guidelines quoted below is that the behaviors must continue for 6 months and must appear before age 7.
The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) considers it necessary that the following be present before attaching the label of ADHD to a child:

    * The behaviors must appear before age 7.
    * They must continue for at least six months.
    * The symptoms must also create a real handicap in at least two of the following areas of the child’s life:
          o in the classroom,
          o on the playground,
          o at home,
          o in the community, or
          o in social settings.[30]

If a child seems too active on the playground but not elsewhere, the problem might not be ADHD. It might also not be ADHD if the behaviors occur in the classroom but nowhere else. A child who shows some symptoms would not be diagnosed with ADHD if his or her schoolwork or friendships are not impaired by the behaviors.[30]

Even if a child’s behavior seems like ADHD, it might not actually be ADHD; careful attention to the process of differential diagnosis is mandatory. Many other conditions and situations can trigger behavior that resembles ADHD. For example, a child might show ADHD symptoms when experiencing:

    * A death or divorce in the family, a parent’s job loss, or other sudden change
    * Undetected seizures
    * An ear infection that causes temporary hearing problems
    * Problems with schoolwork caused by a learning disability
    * Anxiety or depression[30]
    * Insufficient or poor quality sleep
    * Child abuse
973741 tn?1342342773
Sandman, I think this is really great information.  People are often so confused by the way their child presents and I think this is really helpful.
973741 tn?1342342773
I should really include all information provided in this thread.  Thanks to all.  No parent can have too much information when you are discussing the welfare and health of your child.
757137 tn?1347196453
Children on a high sugar diet may exhibit symptoms that mimic ADD. But let's face it, what doctor examines a child's diet?
189897 tn?1441126518
I would think the symptoms would be more like ADHD not ADD,  but I agree - I kinda doubt that many doctors would check into the diet.  But that may just be a stereotypical view I have.
Avatar universal
intersting.   My son I notice gets really nasthy when he's hungry and a lot of times he doesn't realize how hungry he is and then I feed him and he's like a new child.  School restricts the snack times a lot and  I know they hvae to have rules, but I wish they would keep it a little more open.
973741 tn?1342342773
There is something to all people when they get hungry.  My  husband and I call it ===== not meaning to offend anyone======  *crazy hungry*.  It is when you reach the point of hunger that you don't reason well and can snap at any moment.  I don't allow myself to get to that point often----------  it has happened primarily when we are traveling outside of the country.  At our school, you can add snack into an IEP.  
Avatar universal
Maybe I should have them add a snack time.  Gosh, tonite I could not get him to stop eating.  We went to Whole Foods tonight, he kept eating a lot of the samples.  He was just so hungry.  Then we went to Safeway and I got him some green beans, he ate them raw, he ate apple sauce (all natural Granny Smith kind), a little Breyers strawberry ice cream, milk, etc.  He was just so hungry, it does make a difference.  I can control things more at home.  

Sometimes at work I don't get a break till late and I can tell esp if it is around 2pm, need to eat, my brain starts to disintegrate and my coping skills go down the drain!!!  
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