By nature, children are usually active, rowdy, and a little mischievous. This behavior isn’t always a sign of ADHD. Sometimes, though, a child’s misbehavior, hyperactivity, and inability to pay attention is a sign of a greater problem. Some of the first clues that your child has ADHD include reports from teachers or school officials that your child is having academic problems, behavioral issues, or serious trouble paying attention in class. If these warning signs pop up, it’s important to seek a diagnosis so that your child can receive the help he or she you needs.

The first step is to call your family doctor who may refer your child to a mental or developmental health specialist, psychiatrist, or neurologist for further diagnostics. There is no one test for the diagnosis of ADHD. Instead, a series of interviews will help the doctor determine what other tests, if any, need to be run. These interviews will possibly include teachers, caregivers, the parents and the child to get a full picture of the kind of behavior and the severity of the problem being displayed. Other tests will help determine if some other physical or mental health problem could be the culprit. In certain cases, a poor diet that’s high in sugary foods may contribute to symptoms of ADHD. Sometimes the symptoms of ADHD are actually the result of anxiety, depression, a learning disorder, hearing problems, or other behavioral issues. Serious medical conditions can also cause disruptive behavior, so it’s important that the doctors get as much information as possible before an ADHD diagnosis can be given.

Only a medical or psychological professional can truly diagnose ADHD. While it might be tempting to write all behavioral problems off to ADHD, an appropriate diagnosis is the only way to find appropriate treatment. Whether your child is dealing with ADHD or some other form of mental or physical disorder, speak with your healthcare provider about your concerns. Once you’ve received a diagnosis, you, your child, and your doctor can begin conquering the problem together.

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