Curious About ADHD or ADD

Updated on January 16, 2008
R.L. asks from Taylor, AR
10 answers

I know what ADHD and ADD stand for, but what exactly is it? I know that it is real, but I am a little skeptical about how many kids seem to be diagnosed with it. It wasn't heard of when I was a kid and now it seems as if every kid I know has it. Could someone please give me information about this. I don't really see how a child ages 2-6 could really be diagnosed with it, unless it is severe. Kids that age have short attention spans and believe it or not, they are hyper at that age. Please shed some light on this. I'm not trying to say this is not a real problem, I just don't understand it.

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So What Happened?

Thank you very much for all of the responses. The information was very helpful. I was more or less curious if parents and doctors just jump to that conclusion and medicate their children instead of dealing with them. I see this is not the case, at least not most of the time in this network.
The information about change of diet was very interesting as well. Thank you again.

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answers from Mobile on

I strongly believe that ADHD is over diagnosed. I just read a great book called the ADHD solution. In the book the author gives tons of stats and some dietary solution to help control behavioral impulses. You can get it from the library.

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answers from Nashville on

OK, I've probably got to preface this by saying that I'm a dad, not a mom, but I didn't find a "dadasource" online (Google keeps asking me if I mean "datasource). This is the best a PT SAHD could do. I also have an MS in Secondary Ed and have worked extensively with developmentally disabled kids.

First, the name ADD is a bit of a misnomer. The problem is often not that kids cannot attend, but that they attend to everything. A fly on the wall is just as interesting as a what the teacher is saying.

Second, ADHD is pretty much the same as ADD, only add a hyperactivity component. Kids with ADHD used to be described as having ants in their pants.

Third, ADD and ADHD are not diseases. They are disorders. By definition a disorder is only a classification of symptoms. A number of different factors may contribute to ADD/ADHD. There is not one cause of ADD/ADHD.

This is where the controversy gets started. First, pretty much all teachers are in agreement that ADD/ADHD is over-diagnosed. Second, one school of thought thinks of ADD/ADHD as a symptom of a kind of developmental delay (some kids appear to "grow out of it"). This is what your question seemed to suggest. Third, the Multiple Intelligence approach (of Gardner) suggests that the hyperactivity component actually reflects a kinesthetic learning style. Some kids, they say, need to move in order to learn. Fourth, another school of thought (Nanci Bell) thinks that kids who "space out" and appear not to attend don't suffer from ADD at all, but a failure to cognitively image what is being said. Think about it, if neither one of us suffers from ADD and ADHD, but find ourselves in a boring lecture (because we don't understand what is being said), or are otherwise asked more than is expected of us in terms of attentiveness, we may appear to have the disorder. Finally, all that being said, there are probably some kids who benefit from treatment for ADD and ADHD. I'm not a doctor, but I would encourage medication as a sometimes necessary last resort. Other factors like diet, exercise level, sleep patterns, and addressing other cognitive issues (qua Bell) may cause the symptoms to abate.

By the way, sometimes what looks like ADD can actually be a sign of a gifted child. You might have your child take a battery of cognitive assessments before making up your mind.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jonesboro on

I think everyone has some sort of add or adhd. And even though we didn't know about it back in the day. It was probly there and wasn't as broadcast as it is today. Science has come along way and even though SOME diagnosis is caused to the parents not having patience enough to deal with the hyperactivity or attention disorder. So they get meds prescribed to child inorder to make life alittle easier on them. However this causes even more problems for the children than your so called peace of mind is worth in the present. I am not educated on any of this and there are alot of children out there that do suffer from this and other problems. So never judge a person if they do indeed say their child has add or adhd because alot of tests are done on a child before administering drugs to them. Alot of people think natural foods can help. I dunno.
My child was diagnosed with ADD w/o H and I struggled for years thinking "they were wrong" and why I thought so was no reflection on me cause she was adopted and her bio was challenged in many aspects. When she reached her breaking poing in 1st grade and had to repeat I romanced the idea of maybe they are right and checked further into. They did start her on a small dose and monitored it. I made it perfectly clear if one time I feel she is becoming a zombie I will stop! With us working together her second year in 1st grade she was honor roll student, good reports on conduct in class and now in 2nd she is receiving A's & B's and really likes school and yeah her mouth still runs but she's always been a talker from as early as I can remember I doubt they can control that with meds lol. I wouldn't want it either. But she does get good reports.
So yes long story short google ADD & ADHD and make up your own mind.
Kids are JEWELS if you have to change their diet or meds to make them shine then do so.



answers from Monroe on

I have three children 7,5, and 4. They are all hyper, but my oldest child had some problems concentrating in class. I have tried severe different measures. I finally had the doctor to put her on a low dosage of ritalin, and she is doing a lot better. But, I do some kids are too young for the meds.



answers from Tuscaloosa on

Hi R. L,

I am not that fimilar with ADHD or ADD, all that I know about ADHD is that the child cannot be still for one second, I do know that there is another one call ODD which is Oppositional Defiant Disorder and the only reason I know this is because one of my twins has been diagnoised with it and believe you me, it is hard. Hope that maybe this will help.



answers from Fayetteville on

Hi R.,

My son who is 15 was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 4 years old. He has not been on any meds since he was in the 3rd grade due to medical reactions from the medications.

In his early years (Kindergarten through 2nd grade) he was in special ed classes. Today, as a sophomore in high school, he is not even receiving in class assistance from another person and he is succeeding in all his courses.

There are guidelines, and to take a child to a PCP and they instantly say - he's ADD or ADHD is not how it works. The child, if it is suspected that he/she has this, needs to be properly diagnosed. This is through a battery of testing on several different ends. From there the conclusion is made and then as a team, the persons administering the tests and you sit down and discuss how to treat your child. Just because they give their opinion on how to treat the child also does not mean it is law.... YOU HAVE SAY in this and your word is final.

ADD and ADHD has many different levels from mild to severe. There are also other conditions as well to be added - some of which are not necessarily present in the original diagnosing of the ADD or ADHD.

Most children will outgrow all or most of the "H" (Hyperactivity) side of the condition through their pubescent years.

Children who are ADD or ADHD do need regular routines, a lot of patience, positive reinforcement, education on what is affecting them so that they can learn to help recognize what is going on. Medication is needed for some children, and each child is an individual. So what works for one child might not be effective at all for another child.

Back when my son was younger, I ran a support group for parents of children with ADD and ADHD. I spent a lot of time trying to help him and still do. I also advocated for public awareness and support for the kids with this. I pushed the school system I lived in at the time to become familiar with Section 504.

As a parent with a child who deals with this, I took every available moment to learn about this completely. There were times, that I found myself educating my son's doctor with issues that she had not heard about yet.

Yes, I agree that there has been a pandemic diagnostic issue going on in this country for some time now. It's easier for some medical personnel and parents to medicate the child into a "controllable" environment than it is for them to actually deal with the child and the child's issues and get to the source of the issues.

However, while children do tend to have shorter attention spans at a younger age, there is a difference between a child switching his/her focus from one subject to another to the child that is ADD or ADHD.

I'd be more than happy to sit down further with you and talk about this whole subject if you like. Just let me know.

Take care and I hope this was somewhat helpful for you.




answers from Texarkana on

My husband and my step-son both have it. My husband is 32 years old and the doctor said that he should have grown out of it but he didn't. As far as my step-son, the medication has definitely helped him concentrate in school, not stay in constant trouble with his teachers and us, and his grades have moved up to A's and B's. I once read an article that the American diet of processed foods and soft drinks is what has caused so many children to have this problem today. Which kind of makes sense because (to listen to our parents) they alwasys ate a home cooked meal because they had no money to go eat fast food. Anyway that's all I know about it.



answers from New Orleans on

You are going to have to read up on it and decide for yourself about your opinion on ADD and ADHD. For me, my son has a high function autism (to get into autism is a whole other thread lol) that "umberella" he is also ADHD, ODD, OCD, etc. We have to treat all the little things to make a difference with my son.

I do believe that some are quick to jump to diagnose children with ADD and ADHD but some are right on. It's up to the parent of that child to dig deeper and be an advocate. As far as the books with diets, medication and stuff like all depends on the child if that will work or not.

Keep in mind there are more chemicals present in our homes, toys, bottles, carpet etc plus all of the processed foods. That in combination of a more polluted world can make things happen that weren't happening 25 years ago.



answers from Huntsville on

My 19 year old wasn't diagnosed until college. She was a very active child, and made mostly B's with a few A's in an academically challenging private school. Her first year of college a close friend was tragically killed in an accident, and she began to fall apart. She couldn't concentrate on anything. Her pediatrician suggested that we bring her home, so we did. Now she is in nursing school, taking Adderal to control her ADD and doing very well. The medication really makes a huge difference for her. She is able to focus on the difficult material she has to learn in an organized manner.
My 12 year old daughter may be ADD, but at this point we aren't pushing the issue. She makes almost all A's, but she does get distracted quite easily.
I agree with the previous poster that diagnosing and medicating too early can be detrimental. However, as a teacher, I have seen first graders with extreme ADHD who did benefit tremendously from being medicated.



answers from Memphis on

Hi R.,

A child should not be diagnosed before the age of 6 or 7, and even then it's difficult.

My 14 year was diagnosed in first grade so he was 6. He now takes meds for it and we struggle every day with it.

There are different degrees of it .. some are better and some are worse. He has ADHD which is easier to diagnose that ADD.

With my son, he could always focus on what HE wanted too .. TV, gameboy, Xbox ect. but I could tell him to go make his bed, he'd walk to his bedroom and forget why he was there.

We can not give him a 'list' of things to do .. he will certainly forget some of them. We have to tell him one at a time in most cases.

I don't know if I really answered your question, there are websites about ADD / ADHD and support groups too.


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