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Saturday, October 29, 2011

ADHD - Are You Sure?

I felt compelled to write about this because I was angry at the medical profession the other day. I was working with a recently divorced mother who had come to me for help with her two young children. They had all experienced the trauma from chronic arguments between the parents and the unpredictability of an alcoholic father. The son, who was 9 years old, had been experiencing night terrors and difficulty concentrating in school. She then told me that he had been diagnosed with ADHD and is taking a stimulant drug. This is the preferred diagnosis by several doctors in this area. I wasn’t surprised by this. I was outraged. I kept regulated and didn’t share my outrage with the mother. She didn’t need that. As I explained the stress model, I suggested that her son’s symptoms were more indicative of anxiety and trauma. Then she told me her son was also on a “worry pill”, Zoloft. I explained to her that anxiety and depression symptoms can be miss understood (in my opinion miss diagnosed) as ADHD if the emotional trauma history isn’t included as part of the assessment process. She completely understood this. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I question giving a stressed out child a stimulant. As of this writing, the stimulant has not slowed down this child’s thinking. If medication is going to be used, I believe that the Zoloft is probably the more appropriate medication based on information provided by the mother. I suspect the stimulant exacerbated the some symptoms and then the need for another medication. I am not suggesting that you take your child off a prescribed medication without consulting your doctor. What I am suggesting is talking to your child’s doctor about the diagnosis and how that diagnosis was derived. If your child’s trauma history was not part of the assessment, then advocate for your child that this be considered and get a second or third opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I think trauma history ALWAYS complicates things, and should ALWAYS be considered before using medication of any sort. My thought is that the zoloft may be taking the edge off the anxiety so that the child can think more clearly, but yes, the stimulant may certainly be exacerbating the anxiety symptoms. Great that you stayed regulated. It is so hard to deal with what at least seems like incompetence of other professionals, isn't it?