A Practical Guide To Understanding Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. It is more commonly diagnosed in childhood, as symptoms typically manifest during early years; however, it can be present at any age. Individuals with ADHD often have difficulty focusing, controlling their impulses, and sustaining attention on tasks that are not stimulating or enjoyable.
Though various seemingly similar symptoms to ADHD can be experienced by the non-ADHD population, the symptoms manifest within those who have ADHD in a severe and persistent way, often being a significant disruption in their daily lives.
It can lead those with ADHD, especially children, to struggle with problems such as poor academic performance, forming and maintaining friendships, and engaging in risky behaviors.
Fortunately, early on-set identification of ADHD can aid in helping a child find the optimal intervention to assist them in learning to overcome the hardships that come with ADHD.
Early intervention can significantly improve the overall quality of life for a child and aid the child in reaching their full potential.
However, being a neurodevelopmental disorder, ADHD must not be carelessly diagnosed. ADD/ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, meaning it has everything to do with the brain and how it develops.
Yet, looking into the brain is one thing many healthcare professionals neglect to examine when forming a diagnostic opinion. Neurodevelopmental disorders stem from issues within the brain and its development, and in order to accurately assess whether an individual truly has ADHD, it is important to conduct a proper and thorough assessment that is able to fully cover and assess the inner workings of the brain.
Wrongly diagnosing children with ADHD can lead to severe consequences for their academic and personal lives, while also potentially concealing underlying and more severe neuropsychological conditions.
One of the primary reasons why a growing number of children are wrongly diagnosed with ADHD is because healthcare providers rely on overt behaviour as the primary basis of their assessment. They may make a diagnosis based on a person’s behaviour without considering other factors contributing to their symptoms and do not look at the main organ implicated in the aberrant behaviours seen in children with ADHD-typical symptoms: the brain.
How is neurological intervention important in identifying ADHD?
ADHD-typical symptoms, such as being easily bored, unorganized, oppositional, and difficulty staying on task, among others, can be present in various other conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the possibility of misdiagnosis if a child’s symptoms are solely attributed to ADHD without considering other factors.
For instance, a child who is easily distracted and fidgety in class could be diagnosed with ADHD; however, these symptoms could also be due to anxiety or emotion dysregulation.
Overlapping symptoms across different conditions can make it challenging to diagnose ADHD accurately. Therefore, healthcare providers must carefully evaluate all possible factors before making a diagnosis. While overt behavior is an essential aspect to consider when diagnosing ADHD, it is vital to look at the brain and consider all possible conditions that could overlap with ADHD symptoms.
In order to enhance our comprehension of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, it is imperative to investigate their neurological foundations. EEG endophenotypes are neurological indicators or markers that possess a robust genetic component. These biomarkers serve as “identifiers” for specific genetic traits or clusters of traits that are biologically inherited.
By detecting and examining these distinct sets of phenotypes, we can gain valuable insights into the fundamental neurobiological mechanisms of ADHD and related disorders. This is particularly critical because relying solely on observable behavior as a diagnostic criterion can result in errors, as certain conditions may be easily mistaken for one another based purely on external manifestations.
Therefore, the inclusion of neurobiological markers such as endophenotypes is crucial.
QEEG Brain Assessment
The qEEG method is a secure and scientifically validated means of evaluating the functional aspect of the brain, with a notable precision rate in facilitating the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders. The qEEG assessments reveal ADHD patterns that are typically manifested in similar endophenotypes, as established by Chabot and Serfontein’s research in 1996.
Individuals with ADHD generally present with an excess of theta and/or low alpha activity in their brain. Endophenotypes are unique and specific, making it unlikely to mistake one condition for another once the identifiable neuro-markers are present. qEEG is a non-invasive procedure that reads brainwaves without the need for any substances or objects to be inserted into the body.
To accurately understand the underlying drivers of a child’s behaviour, it is essential to examine the workings of their brain. Without this understanding, certain behaviours may be misinterpreted. The brain controls a child’s behavior and actions, much like a computer’s processor manages its functions. When issues arise, we look to the processor to identify the problem and determine the necessary steps to address it. Similarly, examining a child’s brain can help identify their needs and requirements in order to provide appropriate support.
The brain, akin to a computer, operates as a complex processing system through intricate networks of connections that allow us to think, learn, and solve problems. In order to identify the root cause of “malfunction” or inefficiencies, it is insufficient to rely solely on outward indications. Rather than rely on conjectures, it’s imperative to delve into its core to accurately identify underlying issues. The qEEG is a highly valuable tool that offers insight into the intricate workings of the brain.