When ordinary distraction is something more: diagnosing ADHD

(BPT) – What parent hasn’t had to call a child’s name more than once to get his attention? Or wondered how she can still be “bouncing off the walls” at the end of a long, tiring day. Moments of intense activity or occasional inattention are typical kid behavior, but for some children the problem is extreme and impairing. How can parents tell if their child’s energy or distraction is ordinary or something more?

In the past decade, the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rose 24 percent, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, the pediatric journal of the American Medical Association.- The disorder is both over- and under-diagnosed. Because the symptoms overlap, ADHD can often be mistaken for other disorders such as anxiety, depression and oppositional defiant disorder.

Untreated ADHD can hinder a child’s ability to learn and perform well in school, make friends and interact with family, and develop age-appropriate decision-making skills. A mistaken ADHD diagnosis may result in unnecessary treatment, medication and a great deal of stress for the child and parents.

Accurate and early diagnosis is key to successfully treating ADHD, experts say. Progress toward a diagnosis usually begins with parental concerns over a child’s behavior or problems in school. Symptoms of ADHD can include:

* Difficulty paying attention

* Frequent daydreaming at inappropriate times

* Easily distracted from schoolwork or play

* Forgetfulness

* Inability to sit still

* Excessive fidgeting

* Talking too much or speaking without thinking

* Inability to play quietly

* Difficulty learning to take turns

Parents concerned about their child’s behavior and the possibility of ADHD should take their child to a medical professional for diagnosis. Doctors have a range of tools to help them not only diagnose ADHD, but establish a treatment plan and assess progress toward an individualized and optimized dose for the child.

The Quotient ADHD Test is one such tool, and is FDA-cleared for the objective measurement of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention to aid doctors in the diagnosis and management of ADHD. Testing and measurement of the severity of symptoms has historically been a challenge for doctors. Commonly, medical professionals use behavioral checklists and questionnaires completed by the child’s parents and teachers to aid in diagnosing ADHD. Those rating scales, however, can be susceptible to rater bias, and answers can vary dramatically from mother to father, and from parents to teachers.

During the patient’s first visit to the doctor he/she can be given a 15-minute Quotient test for children or 20-minute test for teenagers and adults to help quantify the severity of ADHD symptoms, which fall into three core categories: hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity.- Taking the test again during follow-up visits allows doctors to re-assess how well medications or non-medication therapies are working and guide changes in treatment plans.

Because the test report is easy to understand, patients are able to see the problem and doctors are better able to discuss treatment with patients and their parents. Families are also able to use the report to track the patient’s progress on a prescription medication.

Furthermore the objective measurements of the Quotient Test are valuable in ruling-out ADHD.- This is especially important due to the increase in young adults faking ADHD symptoms to obtain stimulant medications. A college student can learn enough about ADHD symptoms in a five-minute Internet search to fake a rating scale and get drugs as a study aid. However, a student cannot fake the objective evaluation of a Quotient Test. To find a doctor in your area who already uses the Quotient ADHD Test, visit the website www.biobdx.com

-“While ADHD can’t be cured, it can be successfully managed,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website. Early diagnosis and effective treatment of ADHD can help people with the disorder lead successful lives.