Relationship Connection: People say my kid has ADHD; is it overdiagnosed or even real?

Question:

Is ADHD a real issue? I feel like every kid who steps out of line is automatically diagnosed by some professional as having ADHD. Whatever happened to kids just being rambunctious? I have a son who is hyperactive and occasionally gets in trouble at school for this, but I’m not about to put him on medications just to control him to make someone else’s life more convenient. What’s your take on this?

Answer:

First of all, the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder came from a collection of symptoms identified by a group of mental health professionals in the diagnostic manual. It doesn’t mean anything more than that. If you happen to have a child who has a certain number of these behaviors, then technically you would say they have ADHD, but that doesn’t mean there is only one way to deal with his behaviors.

Hopefully you are doing something about his hyperactive behaviors, especially if he’s disrupting a classroom or his peers. It’s not a good idea to let him go undisciplined in the name of refusing to label him as ADHD. Nobody is going to make you label him anything. However, if he’s going to be a part of a group, he’ll need some help to be appropriate.

ADHD is a highly controversial diagnosis and I’m not going to make some judgment as to whether or not it’s being over diagnosed. All I know is that if your child is disruptive, some active and concerned parenting is always appropriate.

In my opinion, it’s wise to be cautious with putting a child on medication. There are so many other things we can do to help children by modifying their environments. Eliminating certain foods out of their diets (such as sugar, white flour, etc), having a set bedtime routine, and regular outdoor play can do wonders for helping a child regulate their body. Additionally, a solid structure at home with appropriate boundaries and consequences can make a difference when he’s at school.

There are great resources on the Internet for children with the symptoms of ADHD. Don’t worry so much about the actual diagnosis, as it’s simply a term used by people to describe a set of behaviors. If he exhibits those behaviors on a regular basis and it’s creating problems for his life, then be proactive about getting him the help and support he needs.

Stay connected!

 

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2012, all rights reserved

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