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Adult ADHD: Difficult to Diagnose

Stress, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, hearing problems, vision problems, sexual abuse, drug use and even some allergies can look like ADHD.

Dr. Steven Kurtz – No one symptom is the sole purview of ADHD.
[Dr. Annick Vincent] you know when we do to diagnosis assessment for ADHD we go to the process to see if that person has inattentive
symptoms hyperactive and impulsive symptoms but we also have to go through the process of even if that person has all those symptoms you know you go through the checklist and you say yes yes yes yes to all questions. You may not have ADHD at all. why is there so much confusion? there are many many things that may look like ADHD.
[Dr. Jain] we go through a process of trying to understand all the other things that look like ADHD and here are five. Number one is this an intellectual issue maybe you’re very smart I hate dumb the bottom line really is I got to find out if you’re really smart or really challenged the school system is not gonna handle you properly and you’re gonna look like you’re not paying attention because you’re bored maybe.
Thom Hartmann – I didn’t fail in school because I was stupid it wasn’t those things at all it was that my brain works differently and while I couldn’t do math all that well in that way I might be able to do it in this way but this isn’t the way that they were teaching in my school.
Dr. Annick Vincent – one thing about our society right now is that a lot of people who don’t have ADHD look like they have ADHD because they want to do so much in so many shorter period of time that they end up in our office saying I may have ADHD and when you look at it they’re trying too much at the same time and they get this organized.
[Dr. Jain] Maybe you have a learning disability 40% of individuals ADHD have a concurrent learning disability, maybe you have a learning disability on its own maybe you can’t read properly maybe you can’t write properly or do things that other children could possibly do. Maybe you’ve relied on your brute intelligence all your life to get through but really you really couldn’t master some of these people particular things that are necessary.
Dr. Steven Kurtz – if you have a learning disability related to reading will you look like you’re being an attentive during reading time? Probably.
Dr. Jain – maybe you have a medical problem maybe there’s something wrong with your vision, maybe you’re hearing his problematic, you know my best case is I’ve now treated 8 children with skin moisturizer. why? because mom changed the fabric softener and all of a sudden the kid was squirming in his seat and and somebody said that kid must have ADHD my gosh you know not everything walking in the door with motor restlessness is ADHD. Maybe the kids underwear is too tight oh you know maybe it’s psychosocial maybe this kid has so much stress in his life death lost mood change come to school every day wondering who his parents are gonna be gather again.
[Dr. Vincent] say I’m anxious I’m always in my thoughts about something that I think that may be happening I don’t concentrate on what
I’m doing and I kind of look like I’m ADD.
[Dr. Jain] maybe this kid has been physically sexually abused, maybe he comes to school every day with such stress how can you focus?
[Dr. Kurtz] so if you have ADHD will that will you have difficulty paying attention? probably but if you’re depressed will you have difficulty paying attention? probably.
[Dr. Jain] maybe it’s psychiatric maybe it’s an anxiety disorder maybe it’s depression maybe there’s an adolescent with a substance use disorder maybe schizophrenia.
[Dr. Vincent] So it’s really important when you get a sense for ADHD that you see a clinician that knows what is ADHD and what it is not.
[Dr. Jain] The bottom line really is is that it needs to be assessed from the point of view of what is ADHD and what it is not, and so the process of assessment is really to take you down that particular path in fact professional psychiatrists psychologists teachers don’t come to the conclusion of ADHD easily it takes a lot of effort a lot of investigation and a lot of information.
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