(Updated at Mar 22 / 2023)
Can you tell ADHD from disobedience without a doctor?
It’s usual for children to be more active than adults as they have more energy and need to be a little nosy to learn new stuff. However, sometimes it can go over the top and parents wonder whether their child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Naturally, to know for sure, you need to get your child to the children’s therapist to get him or her diagnosed. But in this article, we are going to provide you with useful tips based on which you can consider whether you need to get your child to a doctor or maybe reconsider your parenting style.
Here are the key behavioral differences between a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and consciously disobedient child:
If you think that your child may have the typical behavioral characteristics of ADHD, you can also check the list of symptoms based on which the diagnosis is made before you take him or her to a doctor.
ADHD symptoms based on which the diagnosis is made
- Inattentiveness and mistakes in tasks;
- Difficulty focusing for even several minutes;
- Inability to focus when someone is talking to them;
- Unable to follow guidelines;
- Inability to organize a game or activity;
- Frequent loses of personal belongings;
- Easy distractibility;
- Forgetfulness. At list six manifestations should be present for the diagnosis.
- Frequent fussy movements with his arms and feet;
- Inability to sit or stay still when required;
- Constant movement;
- Inability to play silently;
At list five manifestations should be present for the diagnosis.
- Answering questions without hearing them till the end;
- Frequent intervenes in other people’s conversations.
What you should know about the dynamics and early signs of ADHD?
First of all, it is considered that the condition doesn’t develop out of blue. This means that even though the diagnosis is made at 6 or, according to the recent guidelines, 12 years of age, the gradual manifestations can be detective much earlier – as early as during the first year of life. Obviously, the manifestations in newborns and toddlers differ as they have different capabilities and patterns of behavior but here is what you can be looking for:
- A baby is loud most of the time;
- Is rarely calm;
- Is very active;
- Is hypersensitive to noises, smells, etc.
- Has poor appetite;
- Frequently awakes;
- Has no crawl phase;
- Actively interacts with adults;
- Doesn’t like touching being in arms.
- Constant movement;
- Excessive curiosity;
- Proneness to unusual acts (sometimes dangerous or unpleasant);
- Tiring for others;
- Fearlessness and courageousness;
- Continued misbehavior after an observation.
- Constant movement;
- Episodes of aggression (including breaking toys);
- Easy distractibility.
- Causes trouble when going to bed.
It can be challenging to distinguish these behaviors in toddlers as they are usually very active. But if a child is very tiring and hyperactivity seems over the top, you may consider getting him or her to a doctor at an older age to get diagnosed and receive treatment to avoid further complications.
It is important to note that it is unlikely that a child has ADHD if he or she acts like described above only in certain situations. For diagnosis the consistency of manifestations in various situations and conditions is substantial. For instance, a child should show signs of the disorder on a playground, at school, at home, when visiting relatives, while his/her parents are shopping, etc.
What are the consequences of untreated ADHD?
Many adults who hadn’t been diagnosed and treated for ADHD in childhood do not realize that this condition can be the reason for their inability to focus, trouble learning new information, organization of work and personal space, as well as in interpersonal relationships.
It is considered that around 30% of kids with the disorder “outgrow” it and have no symptoms in their adult lives. However, the remaining 70% is quite a significant number.
A Harvard University study comprising more than 3,000 volunteers suggested that in 4.4% adults ADHD is present.
An untreated and uncontrolled condition interferes with the normal growing up the process resulting in both academic failures and inability to make new friends as kids with ADHD are commonly aggressive and turn other kids off.
As a consequence, in adulthood, people with untreated ADHD are unable to secure a good job, build a family, grow professionally, have friends, and so on. Moreover, multiple studies show that adolescents and adults with ADHD are more prone to becoming drug and alcohol addicts, get trouble with the law and end up in jail.
Of course, not all people with ADHD have such serious consequences in their lives. However, the risk is high for those whose impulsivity is pronounced.
How is ADHD treated?
The most common practice for ADHD treatment in the USA and European countries is the use of psychostimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, Atomoxetine, and others. Their effect is based on the increased levels of dopamine and noradrenaline, the naturally produced substances that enhance cognitive functions including attention. Studies show that the medications help improve the symptoms and help kids be better at school and interpersonal relationships in 70% of cases. Besides, the medicines can and should be also used by an adult with ADHD if needed as they can help to implement professional tasks and succeeding in the profession, creating a functional family, and so on.
Besides stimulants, other the ADHD treatment practice is psychotherapy and behavioral therapy including in the process parents and teachers, i.e. the implementation of adaptive parenting and teaching.
For the modification of a child’s behavior is used behavioral therapy methods based on operant conditioning, i.e. a type of associative educational process through which behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment (“carrot and stick”). But it should be more about reinforcement than punishment, i.e. rather than “carrot and stick” it should be “carrot or no carrot”.
Parents are advised to form a reinforcement system. For instance, they can offer as a reinforcement going out to a cafe, allowing playing on PC, watching TV, giving kids pocket money, and so on. The undoubted factor of improvement is the creation of a positive model of attitude towards the child. The other extreme in relation to such children is permissiveness; therefore parents should explain the rules of behavior to the child.
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