Attention Problems: ADHD or Trauma?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD has become quite a common condition among many kids today causing many to have attention problems that may hinder their normal growth. But there can be instances when ADHD can also be misdiagnosed in children having such attention problems. Certain situations can cause certain behaviors in children that may be indicative of ADHD. But there can also be other reasons for it such as childhood trauma.

Trauma and Its Effects

It seems that there have been a number of studies showing that there is a relationship between the effects of a trauma and a child’s attentive ability. It is just that it can be hard for parents to identify trauma and its effects on children. One of the reasons is that there seems to be a common belief that young children are not as affected by traumatic events or is generally considered rare.

There was a study conducted to determine the level of impact of certain traumatic events such as the World Trade Center on kids. Participants included 116 pre-school children that were directly exposed to the WTC attacks. Traumatic events experienced ranged from the participants seeing people jumping out of the towers, seeing bodies dead and injured and seeing the towers collapsing. The kids were also evaluated for other lifetime history of traumatic exposure.

The results showed that a number of children did not develop lasting problems even after experiencing high intensity traumatic events such as the WTC attacks. But the studies also did show that those pre-school children who underwent through multiple traumatic events were about 16 times likely to develop attention problems and 21 times more likely to develop symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Hyperactive Or Hypervigilant?

In this case, it may be possible that some children as young as the pre-school age may already be seriously affected by traumatic events that happen in such as early age. As a response to such events, kids may develop hypervigilance or over cautiousness as a means of coping up with certain traumatic events that they went through. This behavior can sometimes be mistaken as a kid being hyperactive which can easily lead parents or doctors to diagnose a child having ADHD.

Attention problems in kids and its causes may be quite hard to determine whether it is a symptom of ADHD by doctors without the help of parents. If the parents may have suspicions that such behavior may be attributed to a certain traumatic event, they should bring up such concerns with the doctor to enable them to make the right diagnosis on what may be causing the problem in kids.


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