ADHD Awareness month is upon us and here at Vision For Life and Success, we wanted to unpack this common yet frequently misdiagnosed condition.
According to the CDC, 6 million children in America have been diagnosed with ADHD. That accounts for 9.6% of all children ages 3 – 17; where as 4.4% of adults in the United States have received a diagnosis. Regardless of age, males are more likely to be branded with the ADHD label.
Oddly enough, a snapshot of a few other countries reveals that the prevalence of ADHD is drastically lower than in America.
- China – 0.7%
- Iraq – 0.1%
- Brazil – 2.5%
- France 4.7%
Things that make you go hmmm. You might be wondering why is there such a huge discrepancy?!
In America, ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) is the most common neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood; yet, there isn’t an abundance of information about it. Causation and risk factors are unknown but there’s a general assumption that genetics may play a role.
So what exactly does it look like to have ADHD?! Well, you might have guessed given the ambiguity of the particulars of this disorder, that its symptoms would be inconclusive and all over the place as well. In no specific order and not limited to the following:
- Changing conversation topics often
- Interrupting others
- Fidgety/Inability to sit still
- Decreased attention span
- Trouble focusing/Inattentive
- Mood swings
- Repetition of words or saying the same thing over and over again
- Learning disabilities are common
- Absent mindedness
- Trouble finishing tasks
It’s not too complicated to grasp how ADHD has become the most common childhood “disorder” in America considering the broad range of symptoms. Plus the fact that all of us have mostly likely either witnessed in our own children or personally demonstrated a few of these symptoms that it speaks to the ordinary nature of this condition.
So, does that mean we all have ADHD?
Fortunately no; but due to its symptoms being so readily seen and/or experienced, it becomes clear this could be a reason why American children are often mislabeled as ADHD. The gravity of receiving a flawed diagnosis can be disastrous. Not only can it lead to being prescribed unnecessary medications, but those medications could have a cataclysmic impact on a child’s developing system.
There are so many disorders that mimic ADHD symptoms. That is why our clinic stresses the importance of ruling out any underlying disorder(s). At Vision For Life and Success, our primary focus and area of expertise is on visual disturbances. We also put together a comprehensive overview of each patient during the consultation process to ensure a sound diagnosis, rectify a misdiagnosis, and construct a personalized treatment plan.
Let’s take a look at our top 5 disorders that can mimic ADHD, shall we?!
1. Nature Deficit Disorder – children that are “plugged in” to technology and spend more time indoors rather than outside in nature. There is an association between vitamin D intake, and the amount of light and seeing green (living plants) a children is exposed to that impacts behaviors
2. Sleep Disorders – sleep is critical for our overall well being. Lack of sleep regularly can easily present as ADHD symptoms
3. Poor Diet – a diet consisting of mostly highly processed foods, sugary foods, foods with dyes and/or additives, caffeine
4. Emotional Trauma and Anxiety – psychological, emotional, and even spiritual trauma can resemble symptoms commonly known to fall under the ADHD disorder
5. Undiagnosed Visual Problems – and cue Vision For Life and Success!
A lot of what is labeled as ADHD are actually vision issues. Difficulties with tracking or focusing and eye alignment issues will produce ADHD symptoms. The most common visual disturbances is convergence insufficiency. A patient with convergence insufficiency; a condition where eye alignment is difficult so there’s an inability to keep both eyes lined up or focused on a single target or object for a length of time, would present with ADHD symptoms. Or struggling with a small functional visual field or tunnel (tubular) vision, where your normal (and wide) range of vision is significantly limited or restricted, will cause symptomatic behaviors too.
It’s certainly easy to see how an individual might get a mislabel of ADHD when dealing with these types of vision problems. And without a complete and thorough investigation into underlying conditions or addressing root causes, a person can be set up for a lifetime of frustrations and unresolved symptomatic behaviors. Listen to what Mary Beth had to say about her son in our program:
When Jaxon began Vision Therapy, I was frustrated with the lack of answers as to why he was struggling, especially with reading. ADHD and dyslexia were brought up along with a possible learning disability. After the initial assessment with Dr. Julie, it was surprising to hear that he actually had a problem with his vision! After completing the program, Jaxon has an easier time reading. He is not making the constant letter and number reversals either. Although he remains an energetic little boy, I feel he is also more focused. Having answers to help my son that did not involve giving him a pill to calm him down is the best gift we could have received. We thank Dr. Julie and Ms. Sherry and everyone else on the team for helping Jaxon to really see the world he is surrounded by.
At Vision For Life and Success, we tackle each unique case armed with an exhaustive and individualized treatment plan. This plan entails a two phased approach; an active phase and a hands on phase. Syntonics light therapy is the active phase. Syntonics, or photo light therapy, consists of an assortment of colored lenses, which filter light and send signals to the brain. Syntonics is a non-invasive, simplistic but highly effective therapy to help the brain reboot itself. The hands on portion involves remedial sessions with a vision therapy specialist to complete tailored exercises. The combination of these modalities creates a powerhouse technique for optimal restoration.
If you are interested in learning more about or know someone who could benefit from our customized vision therapy programs, please visit our website at visionforlifeworks.com or contact us directly at (618) 288-1489. Schedule a consultation and get started on the healing journey today!