When Treatment Isn't Working - The Importance of an Accurate Diagnosis
Many parents, and adults, taking medication for ADHD wonder what to do when after months of treatment; things just don't seem to be getting better.
An article, "Help My Pediatrician's Not Listening to Me" on CNN.com, outlines how parents can work with their doctor to find out why the treatment isn't working. One of the reasons may be a misdiagnosis, according to the article.
Parents should talk with their doctor about the length of time their child should be on the medication before they begin to see results. Set a timetable and ask the doctor what else can be done if the treatment is not working within that timetable.
If parents do not see any improvement, it might be possible the diagnosis is incorrect. For example, in the article, an autistic child had been diagnosed with ADHD. He was prescribed stimulant medication but there were no improvements. It wasn't until the mother continued to question the lack of progress, and continued to visit different doctors that a correct diagnosis of autism was made. The correct treatment made all the difference and the young boy began to flourish.
With mental health issues, there are often overlapping symptoms. For example, depression and bipolar disorder have many similar symptoms. ADHD and bipolar can also share a number of characteristics. There are also physical illnesses that can share or mimic symptoms of ADHD. (10 Medical Conditions That Share Symptoms with ADD/ADHD)
When a treatment just doesn't seem to be providing progress and improvement, parents and doctors may do well to look at other illnesses and disorders to determine the correct and accurate diagnosis. It may be that there are two or more correct diagnosis, however, only one is being treated.
Parents may want to ask for a referral to a pediatric psychiatrist for a complete evaluation. An accurate diagnosis makes all the difference in creating an effective treatment plan.