Is it ADHD or Trauma?

I came across a very interesting article on ACEs Too High, titled “How childhood trauma could be mistaken for ADHD.”

The author, Rebecca Ruiz, interviewed Dr. Nicole Brown, a paediatrician who noticed that many of her low-income patients diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) lived in households and neighbourhoods where violence and relentless stress prevailed. Brown hypothesised that a lot of what they were seeing was more externalising behaviour as a result of family dysfunction or other traumatic experiences. Brown analysed the results of a national survey about the health and well-being of more than 65,000 children. Her findings revealed that children diagnosed with ADHD also experienced markedly higher levels of poverty, divorce, violence, and family substance abuse. Those who endured four or more adverse childhood events were three times more likely to use ADHD medication. While it’s not evident how trauma influences ADHD diagnosis and management, it’s clear that some misbehaving children might be experiencing harm that no stimulant can fix. Dr. Brown and Dr. Kate Szymanski have both concluded that we need to think more carefully about screening for trauma and designing a more trauma-informed treatment plan.

Read the full article HERE.

I found this article to be incredibly insightful and thought-provoking. It shows how trauma and ADHD behaviours can overlap. If you need support with anything shared and discussed in the article, please do get in touch with us.

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