ADHD has become a disorder that almost every parent in the US has heard a lot about today. Some people dismiss ADHD as simply a newfound name for an old issue, hyper kids. Other people argue that it is a real disorder that has become more and more common. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
I believe ADHD is a real disorder and there are many children and adults who deal with the symptoms of the disorder every day. But there are also many children and adults who are simply hyper and don’t have all of the characteristics of ADHD. This leaves us with the question: How do we tell the difference and do what’s best for our children?
ADHD is a disorder that can only be diagnosed by a medical doctor. It should involve a series of questionnaires filled out by parents, teachers, and sometimes the patient. Other assessments may also be conducted. ADHD should only be diagnosed after a thorough examination and analysis of the results.
Hyperactivity without ADHD can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are the top 5.
Stress. Some people get down and depressed when overly stressed. But other people have the opposite reaction and get overly active. When we face changes, stressful events, or tough challenges, it can be hard to settle down and relax. Hyperactivity caused by stress is usually short-term. Speak with your doctor or a counselor if you notice your child remaining at a high level of stress for an extended period.
Tired. All parents have seen this. When our kids stay up extra late, they eventually get to a point where they get overly tired and hyper. If kids do not have a consistent sleep schedule, either because of family lifestyle or unusual events, then kids may remain overly tired throughout the day. Try to get your child on a consistent sleep schedule and see if it helps. If they continue to complain about being tired, speak with your child’s pediatrician.
Diet. Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone, but contrary to popular belief it does not cause hyperactivity. However, other research suggests that some preservatives and artificial colors can increase hyperactivity in some children. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you think this might be the case for your child.
Lack of activity. Children need a lot of active time. Without it, they’ll create it. Children who are lacking physical activities will often become overly restless when they are asked to sit still. Encourage your child to exercise daily either playing sports or simply playing outside with friends.
Mental health. Children who experience a lot of anxiety may often appear restless and hyperactive because they are always on edge. There are many symptoms of anxiety disorders including hyperactivity. Seek professional counseling if you believe this is the case for your child.