Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity, is an illness that has been around for a very long time. There are varying severities and a wide range of symptoms. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, a thorough evaluation precedes the diagnosis and specific criteria must be met prior to making the diagnosis. It is not as easy as one might think to make an accurate diagnosis because there are a large number of factors that can confound the diagnosis. There are many conditions that may mimic some of the symptoms of ADD and are misleading for the clinician who is not familiar with the intricacies of the disorder. A tumultuous home environment, any type of ongoing trauma such as verbal abuse, academic problems at school, all may lead to various symptoms of that could be confused with those of ADD. Certain criteria cannot be denied, however, such as the age of onset that must be relatively early but can also be deceptive if other problems appear prior to that age also. Well, you say, how then do you know if someone has this problem? After overcoming the obstacles of parental and teacher denial, because nobody wants their child to be ill, a visit to a knowledgeable clinician is in order. If the diagnosis is made, then a trial of mediation is often the next most appropriate step. A trial of a medication is worthwhile for many reasons. Likely the most important is if someone has the disorder, it is present in multiple settings, most of the time, and is very destructive to successful academic success, success in the work environment and essential to a good relationship with others, including families, friends and others. Some become concerned that their child may be predisposed to later Substance Abuse if they are taking a controlled substance for the disorder, but reliable studies have shown that this is NOT the case. Also, some of the medication used for this problem is not controlled. Some just don’t want their child to take mediation, an uneducated and naïve view, considering the consequences of the ADD going untreated and the fact that the child/adolescent/adult cannot function as effectively without it. That being said, there are behavioral strategies that can be utilized by a good therapist that may go a long way in resolving many of the symptoms. What are the symptoms then? Tune in to the next blog or come in for a session and find out.