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Understanding ADHD and the Conditions that Mimic It

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Understanding ADHD

ADHD child and teacher

Credit: US Department of Education (CC License by 2.0)

Many of us experience some degree of distraction and lacking focus from time to time. However, persistent inability to sit still, pay attention, or control impulsive behavior can be clear signs of a greater mental health issue. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is a growing issue among children and parents alike. The most recent statistics show that the condition is common, impacting 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls between the ages of five and 15 living in the UK. Throughout the world, the prevalence rate of ADHD is an estimated 5%, although some research suggests the number may be lower because of initial misdiagnosis.

Having ADHD can be debilitating for both children and adults, although some are thought to outgrow the symptoms of the condition by the time they reach adolescence. For those who do not, the need for a proper diagnosis is crucial to long-term success in managing the mental health condition as a child or an adult. However, like many other mental health issues, ADHD is widely misunderstood and ultimately, improperly diagnosed. To ensure a child – or adult – with ADHD is given the best course of action for his or her symptom management and treatment, recognising the warning signs of the condition alongside common conditions that mimic ADHD is essential.

Recognizing the Signs of ADHD

ADHD is broadly defined as a hyperactivity disorder that creates behavioural nuances among adults and children. The most common signs of ADHD, particularly among children between the ages of six and 12, can be broken down into two broad categories: inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness. Warning signs under the inattentiveness category may include:

  • A short attention span
  • Being easily distracted during activities that require focus
  • Consistent, careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Forgetfulness or losing track of items
  • An inability to stick to tasks or assignments that are time-consuming
  • Constantly changing activities
  • An inability to organize or prioritise

When it comes to hyperactivity and impulsiveness, red flags warning of ADHD often appear as:

  • An inability to sit still in calm or quiet surroundings
  • Fidgeting
  • An inability to concentrate on tasks or assignments
  • Excessive physical movement or talking
  • Being unable to wait their turn
  • Interrupting conversation
  • Acting without thinking
  • Minimal sense of danger

While these symptoms alone do not represent an urgent concern for most parents of hyperactive children or adults who may have a hard time focusing, any combination of persistent warning signs should warrant a discussion with the doctor. Getting the right diagnosis for ADHD at the early onset of warning signs can reduce the problems children and adults face, including underachievement, poor social interactions, and discipline issues.

The Conditions that Mimic ADHD

Although ADHD is fairly prevalent, particularly among young children and teens, the mental health condition is often misdiagnosed. This takes place either in the form of an ADHD diagnosis when it is not truly the culprit of underlying symptoms, or when another condition mimicking symptoms of ADHD is diagnosed incorrectly. In either case of misdiagnosis, the ramifications for children and adults can be devastating.

According to a group of medical negligence solicitors in the UK, ADHD misdiagnosis is incredibly common. An inability to focus on certain tasks, reduced attention spans, and declining behaviour can be simply overlooked as “normal” child or teen tendencies. In some cases, doctors may suggest a more disciplined approach to parenting or a tighter routine to help combat the symptoms. When ADHD is actually the cause, these changes do little to help the child or teen in working toward a solution. Among adults, ADHD is often described as laziness or a lack of motivation, for which recommendations are rarely made. ADHD symptoms may also look eerily similar to other common conditions, including digital eye strain.

In the hyper-connected world in which we live, the use of electronic devices is prevalent. Among children, many are used to working with a mobile device or tablet every day, and in some cases, for hours at a time. Adults are also prone to use their smartphones or tablets more often than is recommended for optimal eye health. Digital eye strain may be the result, and its symptoms often resemble ADHD warning signs.

For example, digital eye strain in children may cause irritability, a perceived lack of focus, or an inability to complete tasks and stay organized. Declining school work may be the end result, but ADHD may not be the cause. Instead, this outcome has to do with the stress placed on the eye and the discomfort it causes. Misdiagnosing digital eye strain for ADHD may lead to unnecessary prescriptions regimens that lead to changes in mood or behaviour – and symptoms that do not ease over time.

Among adults, an inaccurate diagnosis of another disorder may be provided when ADHD is the real reason for symptoms. Common conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorder may present with similar warning signs, and the wrong diagnosis can be detrimental to individuals. Similarly, non-mental health issues, including dehydration and low blood sugar may also lead to inattentiveness or an inability to focus. Receiving the right diagnosis creates better opportunities to start the right plan of treatment, potentially avoiding negative side effects of unnecessary medications or a lack of treatment at all.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

For parents of children who exhibit symptoms of ADHD or a mimicking condition, as well as adults who experience hyperactivity or inattentiveness, seeing a doctor is crucial to getting the right help. ADHD is diagnosed through a a series of steps, including an open and honest discussion surrounding symptoms, the timeline for when they started, and the severity of the issues related to the symptoms. In some cases, GPs will refer a child or an adult to a specialist for an assessment that takes a closer look at physical and mental health. For many children and adults concerned about ADHD, this assessment is meant to rule out other potential causes of symptoms, as there is no singular test that can diagnose ADHD.

Once a proper diagnosis is received, individuals living with ADHD can begin a treatment plan that works best for managing symptoms. Treatment options include prescription medication, either stimulants or non-stimulants, and psychotherapy which often focuses on cognitive behavioural therapy tactics. For some, a combination of these treatment plans is the best course of action in managing ADHD symptoms. However, the first step is understanding how the mental health condition presents itself, and the importance of getting an accurate diagnosis from the start.

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Top Mistakes To Avoid While Traveling With Small Children

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family traveling

Traveling With Children

Mistakes To Avoid While Traveling With Small Children

Many parents absolutely dread the experience of traveling with small children.

It’s easy to see why, since the last thing anyone wants is having to deal with kicking and screaming in public, let alone in a cramped space such as the interior of an airplane.

But even if traveling with small children is always going to have at least some degree of stress involved in it, the good news is you can minimize that stress as much as possible by avoiding a series of seemingly insignificant mistakes.

Here are the top mistakes you will be wise to avoid while traveling with small children:

You Don’t Keep Your Kids Entertained

Older kids and teens are fully capable of entertaining themselves while traveling on the road or on a flight, but the same can’t be said for younger children.

This is why you, as their parent, are responsible for coming up with ways to keep them entertained. The best strategy is to have a minimum of three activities planned that they can do while you travel (games, apps, movies, etc.) and then introduce these activities one at a time.

You Don’t Carry Cash

You may need cash for miscellaneous expenses, for public transportation, or for any other expenses where cash is not accepted. In other words, it’s a good idea to always carry cash for convenience and for emergencies.

In a foreign country especially, carrying cash is important because credit cards may not always be accepted. You can use a money remittance service to convert your money into the currency you need.

You Don’t Focus On Enjoying The Journey

It’s not just your destination that needs to be fun. You can also focus on enjoying the actual journey as well. For example, if you’re driving, you could make the journey fun by planning out your route to include any number of scenic or historical sightseeing places.

You Don’t Make Getting Rest and Sleep A Priority

Sleep and rest should always be a big priority while you travel, and this is even more important for younger aged kids especially. Try to adhere as close as you can to their normal bedtime routines despite the change in timezones, and don’t think you’re wasting time by returning to the hotel room in the middle of the day for a quick nap and downtime.

If anything, getting enough rest in will help you to better enjoy your trip, and for younger aged children especially it help them be less cranky as well. In short, making rest a big priority for your family should simply make your trip a more enjoyable experience for you.

Avoiding Mistakes While Traveling With Children

Try to work on avoiding each of these mistakes that we have covered, and you should find that the process of traveling with kids is far easier than you may have otherwise anticipated or previously experienced it being.

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Five Easy Garment Repairs You Can Do At Home

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When it comes to life hacks and ways to be thrifty, one way you can save money is to learn how to fix clothing items yourself. We all have that favourite item of clothing, something that we always go back to but that one day will start to fall apart. Or that new jacket with the broken zipper, the trousers that need hemming or a dress with a busted seam. If this is you, then you might be surprised at how easy it is to perform simple repairs yourself. Not only will this save on the costs of replacing the items or paying for a tailoring service, but it can also lead to a nice little hobby for yourself or even be the start of a new business venture. Nowadays, people are a lot more aware of sustainability and rejecting the throw away culture of the past, so the ‘make do and mend’ culture is gaining popularity.

Here are some simple ways you can look after your clothing and effect simple repairs:

  1. Repair a bra underwire

We all have that old faithful lurking in our underwear drawer, the go-to bra that never lets us down. However, if it’s underwired, then a sharp dig in the ribs is usually the first sign that the wire has come through the fabric. However, don’t despair, according to plus size shapewear specialist Elle Courbee, this can easily be repaired by pushing the wire back through and stitching the tear. If the tear is too frayed, you can make a patch using moleskin– simply cut an inch-long length and secure it over the hole. For extra durability, the patch can be stitched onto the casing. Use some glue or clear nail varnish to seal down the ends of the thread, to prevent uncomfortable chaffing.

  1. Hemming trousers

Rather than rush to a seamstress or tailor, this is really easy to do at home. You only need scissors, pins, a measuring tape and ruler, an iron and a needle and thread. You don’t even need a sewing machine, although this would obviously expedite the process. Simply follow these steps:

  • Measure your trouser length carefully, making sure you have the correct length and that both trouser legs are cuffed to the exact same length.
  • Pin both cuffs in place
  • Use a hot iron to make a crease at the fold where the trousers are to be cuffed
  • Sew the hem in place using blind stitch – either by hand or using a sewing machine

If you’re using tape, cut the correct length and remove any backing. Place the tape, then press down on it to fuse the cuff in place. However, iron-on tape usually works better, and can simply be placed inside the fabric of the cuff and ironed on using a hot iron, with no steam. Make sure you place a thin cloth over the trouser leg while using the iron. After ironing a section, lift the cuff to ensure it’s held in place before moving on.

  1. Mend a hole or tear

Iron-on patches are the go-to haberdashery items for all busy Moms out there. These are great for speedy repairs of ripped and snagged clothing. Simply turn the garment inside out, cut the iron-on patch to cover the tear – allowing a few extra millimetres for bonding on to the fabric, and use an iron (without steam) to set the patch in place. Again, when using an iron to secure fixing tape/patches, make sure you protect the fabric using a thin cloth.

  1. Repairing a zipper

Let’s face it, zippers were an amazing invention. But when they break, as opposed to buttons that easily be sewn back on, most people won’t attempt a repair and the clothing gets thrown in the trash. Some items will require a whole zip replacement, which is possible at home, following these steps. However, if it’s simply a case that the slider’s stopped working, then the fix is actually fairly straightforward:

  • using pliers, remove the stop from the top of the zipper
  • remove the slider
  • replace with a new slider (parts can easily be sourced from Amazon)
  • attach a new stop using pliers
  1. How to repair a snag in knitwear

This is a really simple and straightforward repair, but must be done as soon as possible after the item has snagged, to prevent further damage to the garment:

  • pull a threaded needle through the loop of the snag
  • tie a knot through the loop of the snag
  • using a needle, push the snag through to the inside
  • turn the garment inside out
  • make sure the snag is pulled through completely
  • tie a double knot at the base of the snag
  • trim away excess thread

Hope this article has given you the confidence to have a go at some simple mending. It’s really not that hard, and can save you time and money, as well as lead to your own business opportunity in what is becoming a boom industry.

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