Do you think most doctors would make a diagnosis of heart disease or diabetes in just one office visit? Sure, they may suspect it, but generally they will do several more tests, such as a cardiac stress test or a glucose tolerance test to confirm the diagnosis.

So why should anyone expect a doctor to make a diagnosis of ADHD in just one office visit? Even more important, how could that doctor begin drug therapy without making sure something else was not causing the problem?

What if a zebra mimicking ADHD was the real diagnosis?

You may be asking me what many parents have through the years: “Why can’t the diagnosis be made in one office visit?” and “Why can’t we just go ahead and try some medicine without doing expensive tests?”

I’m willing to bet that by the time you finish reading this book, you’ll see how it’s impossible to evaluate all the zebras that can act just like ADHD in one or even two office visits.

There are more than forty zebras that need to be tested for and eliminated as the cause of a child’s problems before ADHD is considered the culprit.

Here are just a few of those zebras:

Disorders of the endocrine glands (e.g., hypoglycemia, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism) blood disorders (anemia, lead poisoning), sleep disorders (sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, periodic leg movement disorder) and many more…

For more information on how to make an ADHD diagnosis the wrong way, visit Dr. Barnhill’s blog, MistakenForADHD.

Dr. Frank Barnhill Frank Barnhill, M.D. is the author of Mistaken for ADHD, a physician for over 30 years and an expert in ADHD.  He himself has ADHD and founded the blog, Mistaken For ADHD to help parents and those diagnosed with ADHD get the answers they need.

Dr. Barnhill is’s Official ADHD expert and will answer your questions when you submit them in the comments following this article.  You may also use the contact form at the bottom of the page.  We reply to your questions on our blog. Part 2 of the article follows tomorrow on ADHD.

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