Is a child’s behavior related to ADHD or trauma? It is particularly challenging when identifying and treating children with mental health conditions to assign syptioms related to the condition. WIth attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, this is especially true.
In a recent study, the authors noted that many behaviors children with ADHD exhibited were also behaviors seen among children with traumatic childhood experiences.
Knowing whether a child’s behavior results from ADHD or an adverse childhood experience would affect how the child is treated.
So the researchers set out to determine what the overlap was between children with ADHD and children with adverse childhood experiences.
“Tell your pediatrician about your child’s history of stressful experiences.”
The study, led by Nicole Brown, MD, of The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, looked at the possible overlap of symptoms between ADHD and adverse childhood experiences.
The researchers analyzed data involving children aged 2 to 17 years old from the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health.
They compared the symptoms and treatment of children with ADHD to those of children who experienced any of nine adverse childhood experiences. Those adverse childhood experiences included:
- death of a parent/guardian
- domestic violence
- neighborhood violence
- substance abuse
- familial mental illness
Among a total of 85,637 children, the researchers identified 7.9 percent (6,758 kids) who were diagnosed with ADHD.
Among those with ADHD, 43 percent of the children had experienced at least two of the adverse childhood experiences, compared to 20 percent of children without ADHD.
The researchers found that children with ADHD were more likely to be on medication if they had been exposed to a greater number of adverse childhood experiences.
For example, children with ADHD who had been exposed to at least two adverse childhood experiences were 2.7 times more likely to be taking medication compared to children with ADHD but no exposure to adverse childhood experiences