More than 6.4-million children in the U.S. suffer from impaired attention span. Frequently, they are misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The implications for inappropriate diagnosis are significant for the child’s education, health outcomes, and future well-being.

In more than one-half of ADHD cases, the educators request that a child be assessed for ADHD. Practically speaking, the educators ask the parents to find a health care professional to “confirm their diagnosis of ADHD” and prescribe stimulant medications.

All too often, the child is not examined systematically for the presence of other disorders that can mimic or coexist with ADHD (e.g. Anxiety, depression, mania, primary disorders of vigilance, narcolepsy, developmental specific learning disorders, conduct disorders, and Epilepsy, acquired neurologic deficits).

Anxiety disorder in children may show ADHD-type behavior, such as fidgeting and inattentiveness, albeit accompanied by persistent fear, worries, and somatic symptoms of anxiety.

Developmental & intellectual disabilities presenting with symptoms seen in ADHD patients can be properly evaluated by neuropsychological testing that can detect cognitive deficits well beyond ADHD.

Differentiation between the diagnoses of absence seizures and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Predominantly Inattentive Type, is frequently confounded by similarities in symptom presentation
Medical conditions that may at first appear to be adult ADHD include hyperthyroidism, seizure disorder, lead toxicity, hearing deficits, hepatic disease, sleep apnea, drug interactions, and head injury.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may persist into adult life.