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Coping With the New ADHD Diagnosis
Parents of children newly diagnosed with ADHD often feel overwhelmed by emotion and at a loss as to what to do next. Some parents feel relieved to finally have a name for what’s plaguing their child; for these families, the ADHD diagnosis brings answers and a sense of clarity. Others feel the opposite – instead of relief, they find themselves in denial or angry about the diagnosis. And for many parents, the ADHD diagnosis just brings a whole new set of questions, especially if their child has been previously diagnosed with a different disorder. Here are some tips on how to cope with your child’s new diagnosis.
Consider how the diagnosis was made
Before you hit the panic button, take a look at how the doctor arrived at the diagnosis. Hyperactive behavior, forgetfulness, and inattention seem to obviously point to ADHD, but were you aware that these are also symptoms of unrelated health conditions? Sensory processing disorder, for instance, is another common childhood condition characterized by poor attention spans. Ideally, doctors should make a note of a child’s medical history and environment, and test for similar disorders before arriving at the ADHD diagnosis. It’s not possible to achieve an accurate diagnosis if all the doctor did was take a look at your child’s symptoms. If this is what happened, consider seeking a second opinion elsewhere.
Understand the disorder
If there is no doubt that ADHD is indeed the root of your child’s problems, it’s time to arm yourself with knowledge. Find out everything you can about ADHD – its causes, related problems, and the latest treatment options. You’ll soon discover that there’s fare more to ADHD treatments than stimulant medications; it’s possible to treat ADHD without your child swallowing a single pill. Some popular ADHD natural treatments include neurofeedback, diets, and behavior therapy. Discuss these options with your doctor and find out if they can be of any help to your child.
Modify your child’s environment
ADHD symptoms can be reduced by making changes to your child’s environment. Some things you can do include:
- Establish a bedtime routine to help your child get enough sleep; studies show that poor sleep habits can aggravate hyperactivity and inattention.
- Encourage responsibility by assigning chores to your child.
- Designate a quiet room or corner at the house for studying and doing homework. Make sure this area is free from distractions, i.e. away from the TV or toys.
- Consider reducing the amount of sugary foods, fast foods, and processed foods in your child’s diet, and replacing these with green leafy vegetables, meat, and fish. Research suggests that ADHD symptoms can be caused by a nutritional deficiency, due to children’s preference for unhealthy food.
Join a support group
One of the best ways to cope with the diagnosis is by joining an ADHD support group. Fellow parents of children with ADHD are more than happy to give you tips and advice on managing your child’s symptoms and dealing with the challenges of the disorder. At the very least, a support group will provide you with a sympathetic ear when things get especially stressful.
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