Coexisting disorders, also known as comorbidities, are often as significant as, or worse than AD/HD. The list of these frequently coexisting or similar disorders is huge and greatly complicates proper diagnosis.
The list of “developmental differences” could include very high intelligence, learning disabilities, autism, Aspergers, mental retardation, language processing problems, or similar issues.
“Medical problems” could include poor vision or hearing, lead toxicity, thyroid disorders, Tourette’s Syndrome, seizure disorders, substance abuse, the side effects of medications, sleep disorders, or psychotic disorders.
“Emotional/behavior disorders” could include depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and others.
“Environmental factors” could include child abuse or neglect, inappropriate discipline, inappropriate educational programs, stressful family relations, or stressful living conditions, including lack of sleep.
“Basic nutritional issues” could include inadequate Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), especially omega-3’s (EPA and DHA), iron deficiency (do not provide iron supplements without a physician's approval), lower levels of zinc, B-6, B-12, thiamin (B-1), vitamin E, vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamins C and D, or a host of other critical nutrients, including minerals (especially magnesium) and micronutrients.
Inappropriate dietary habits that spike blood sugar levels lead to a roller coaster effect of numerous hormones, including insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol, which can easily trigger neurobehavioral issues. Food “allergies” can be additional triggering mechanisms. Such allergies may not manifest as do the more common allergies to pollen, but rather as behavioral issues - often the result of chemical imbalances within the body.
“Depression” is reported to be experienced by 10%-40% of children with AD/HD and should be considered a serious issue. Visit MRE Associates: Depression for more on this subject and those listed above.
The above examples of coexisting disorders and related deficiencies form only a partial list. There is often great difficulty in distinguishing specific disorders, especially when they are blended with associated disorders and/or masked by powerful psychotropic medication(s).
It is for this reason, that whenever possible, the use of prescriptive medications should be delayed and used only as a last resort. Additionally, if such pharmaceutical intervention is initiated, it should be accompanied by additional more basic therapies.
Our web pages, Strategy For Success and Action Steps provide additional rationale and specific steps that start with safe and proven basics in the home. Initiate these basics while you gather more information and professional assistance, unless you suspect a more serious medical related issue.
The order of progression might look something like this:
People: family > school > psychologist > medical specialist
Trend: (safe, cheap, & private) > (more risky, more expensive, & less personal)