When Trauma Looks Like ADHD

In recent years, a growing body of research has developed to examine the relationship between exposure to traumatic events in childhood and developing attention and hyperactive symptoms.

Have you ever considered the role that trauma may play in the challenges that you or your loved ones are dealing with? Anytime a child or adult is being evaluated for a mental health disorder such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression, or anxiety; they should be assessed for trauma. No matter how seemingly insignificant an event or life circumstance may seem, trauma should not be overlooked. In recent years, a growing body of research has developed to examine the relationship between exposure to traumatic events in childhood and developing attention and hyperactive symptoms. Life long accumulative trauma includes a disturbing home environment with an absent or neglectful caregiver, life-threatening medical condition of self or a loved one, death of a loved one, divorce, poverty, domestic violence, bullying, a car accident, natural disaster, sexual abuse, burglary, physical abuse, witnessing a traumatic event, and so on. Acute: one single incident Chronic: repeated and prolonged Complex: exposure to numerous stressful events Several researchers believe that symptoms of child traumatic stress could be mistaken for ADHD and that the risk of misdiagnosis is high. This is because there is an overlap between ADHD symptoms and the effects of experiencing trauma. According to an article titled “Is it ADHD or Child Traumatic Stress?” published by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, “unless symptoms are examined closely, the profiles of child traumatic stress and ADHD can appear to be similar.” Symptoms that are nearly identical include: Sadly, many allopathic doctors do not screen for most types of traumatic events, nor do most paediatricians ask their young patients about what’s going on at home. A patient is often prescribed medication by their doctor when complaining of the above symptoms. Symptoms are quickly masked; however, the core of the distress is often left untreated.

The patient may also experience side effects from the medication. Trauma Focused Psychotherapy – Focusing on skill-building and distress tolerance strategies. Biofeedback – A mind-body technique using visual or auditory feedback to gain control of breathing, heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – EFT is a tapping technique similar to acupressure that is used to treat people with pain, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It helps restore the body’s energy balance. Family Constellation Therapy – Created to uncover the source of chronic conditions, illnesses, and emotional difficulties that may have roots in the inter-generational family trauma. Family constellation therapy work focuses deeply on the ancestral family energetic blueprint – the family soul — to help bring forth a resolution and profound healing. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) – Numerous research articles have established EMDR’s efficacy for emotional and physical trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And more recently, researchers are beginning to find EMDR to also be useful for those on the autism spectrum. EMDR is a blend of psychotherapy and bilateral brain stimulation. It is highly successful in treating a range of mental health, intellectual, and developmental disorders when modified or adapted to the client’s developmental level of functioning. During this procedure, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution, often resulting in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self. “EMDR induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to more effectively process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of his or her life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School In a New York Times article Dr. Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., the originator of EMDR agrees: “Since the autism spectrum disorder population is acutely sensitive to environmental disruption, many everyday experiences can cause an emotional disturbance, including trauma symptoms. For instance, one child displayed a high level of post-traumatic stress symptoms after going to the dentist or getting bullied. While recent research has shown that overall life experiences can cause even more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than major trauma in the general population, the susceptibility is even more problematic for those with autism. Reports of positive treatment effects with autism spectrum disorder include a loss of trauma symptoms, increased stability of mood, greater communication, and an increase in socialization.” Looking to help your family overcome ADHD, autism, anxiety and more without medication? Download my FREE eBook ‘Every Parent’s Starter Kit to a Healthy Family’ by signing up HERE. As an Amazon Associate the author of this article earns from qualifying purchases. Due to the pressure of mass censorship, we now have our own censorship-free, and ad-free on demand streaming network! It is the world's first and only conscious media network streaming mind-expanding interviews, news broadcasts, and conscious shows. Click here to start a FREE 7-Day Trial and watch 100's of hours of conscious media videos, that you won't see anyw.

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