Posted by: Jacqui | 2008/07/03


ADD or traumatised?

I am the step-mom of a 10 year old boy. I have two teen age children myself and thought it would be a 'been there/done that' situation.
However, things are a little different this time round. This little boy has been through the mill - he was sexually abused at an early age while in the care of his mother and physically abused by her boyfriend. I knew this coming in and, having been through this as a child myself, I truly do understand the emotions and behaviours associated with this. I do also realise he needs counselling.
When he came back to live with his father and my fiance's ex wife, number 2, she and this little boy did not get along at all. I donot think she had the skills or experience to cope with a child with such emotional needs.
During this time, he was taken to a psychologist, evaluated and diagnosed with ADD and placed on medication. This made him sick and was stopped.
While I can see how the psychologist would come to this conclusion, I honestly do not know enough about the disorder to argue. The problems he experiences are memory related - only short term memory e.g. forgetting an instruction between the bedroom and the kitchen, struggling to concentrate at school,sometimes, as he is easily distracted and forgetting tasks. But the only time he forgets anything is with matters he does not enjoy or does not particularly feel like doing. It does not happen every day and on the whole his behaviour is really good. He gets good marks at school and has bonded with the older boys really well at home. I guess my long winded question is: He has been labelled ADD,by a psychologist and the whole family, but honestly I can't see it. I believe he is a traumatised little boy who needs counselling and someone to talk to.
Can you help? How do I know for sure?
Thank you

Expert's Reply


ADHD Expert

Dear Jacqui,
My sincerest apologies for the delayed reply, I do hope I will be able to give you some useful advice. You are 100% correct thinking that your step son should go for trauma counselling after what he has been through. Despite having a diagnosis of ADD, we do not the cause of his symptoms, and it sounds as though this is your concern. Perhaps you can have him re assessed after some time of counselling and see if there is any different diagnosis, or if you notice a change in his behaviour at home. Your step son can only benefit from trauma counselling. I am relieved to see he has someone who understands what he is going through.
All the best and kind regards.

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user comments


Posted by: Jacqui | 2008/07/08

Hi T

Thank you for the input - he saw a psychiatrist about two years ago and on the basis of one interview, he was diagnosed with ADD. I agree with your points raised - I honestly believe it is emotional. The more love, attention and positive reinforcement he is given, the better it is. Also, I've noticed that sugar, in excess, greatly affects his behaviour so this is also something I am monitoring quietly. I think my biggest fear is 'failing' and letting him down but I truly don't believe it's ADD.
Thanks so much - will post a question to cybershrink.

Reply to Jacqui
Posted by: T | 2008/07/07

i'm no proffesional, but what about seeing a psychiatrist? also, it might help if you post this question to cybershrink?
i believe that a lot of children get misdiagnosed. i have seen two kids diagnosed with ad/adhd and the problem was actually emotional. trial and error got the parents on the right track where these kids are concerned.
add and emotional stress present with a lot of the same symptoms. two of my three kids have add.
another factor which could play a role, if one of the parents have bipolar disorder. that would mean that the little one more than likely has add.
try cybershrink though, he answers quickly aswell

Reply to T

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