Pediatrics Book

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ADHD Differential Diagnosis

Aka: ADHD Differential Diagnosis, Attention Deficit Differential Diagnosis, ADHD Comorbid Conditions
  1. See Also
    1. Attention Deficit Disorder in Children
    2. School Problem Evaluation
    3. Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
    4. ADHD Diagnosis
    5. ADHD Comorbid Conditions
    6. ADHD Non-Pharmacologic Management
    7. ADHD Medications
    8. Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Adderall) or Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
    9. Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Methylin, Concerta)
    10. Atomoxetine (Strattera)
  2. Associated Conditions
    1. Language and Learning Disability (10-15%)
      1. Usually less hyperactive and more inattentive
    2. Tourette's Syndrome (70% with tics have ADHD)
    3. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (35-65% of ADHD patients)
    4. Conduct Disorder (10-20% of ADHD patients)
    5. Major Depression (20% of ADHD patients)
    6. Anxiety Disorder (25% of ADHD patients)
    7. Substance Abuse (20-40% of ADHD patients)
  3. Differential Diagnosis: Psychiatric Conditions
    1. Low self esteem
    2. Major Depression
    3. Bipolar Disorder
    4. Dysthymia
    5. Anxiety Disorder
    6. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
    7. Separation Anxiety
    8. Conduct Disorder
    9. Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
    11. Poor Social skills
    12. Substance Abuse
      1. Consider if symptom onset in adolescence
  4. Differential Diagnosis: Medications
    1. Anticonvulsants
    2. Antihistamines
    3. Decongestants
    4. Beta agonists
  5. Differential Diagnosis: General Medical Conditions
    1. Hypothyroidism
    2. Severe Anemia
    3. Lead Poisoning
    4. Chronic illness
    5. Hearing Impairment or vision Impairment
    6. Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
  6. Differential Diagnosis: Neurologic Conditions
    1. Sleep disorders
      1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
      2. Restless Leg Syndrome
      3. Periodic Limb Movement disorder
    2. Tourette's Syndrome
    3. Seizure disorder (e.g. Absence Seizure)
    4. Sensory disorders
      1. Vision disorder
      2. Hearing Loss
    5. Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation)
      1. Fragile X Syndrome
      2. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
      3. Phenylketonuria
      4. Neurofibromatosis
      5. 22q11 Deletion Syndrome
    6. Other learning disabilities
      1. Autism Spectrum Disorders
      2. Speech or language disorders
  7. Differential Diagnosis: Environmental
    1. Unsafe or disruptive learning environment
    2. School curriculum not well matched to child's ability
    3. Family dysfunction or poor parenting
    4. Child Abuse or neglect
    5. Parental Psychopathology
  8. References
    1. Biederman (1991) Am J Psychiatry 148:564-77 [PubMed]
    2. Felt (2014) Am Fam Physician 90(7): 456-64 [PubMed]
    3. Fletcher (1999) Pediatr Clin North Am 46:885-96 [PubMed]
    4. Goldman (1998) JAMA 279:1100-7 [PubMed]
    5. Hazel (1997) J Paediatr Child Health 33:131-7 [PubMed]
    6. Smucker (2001) Am Fam Physician 64:817-32 [PubMed]
    7. (2006) J Clin Psychiatry 8(4):224-33 [PubMed]

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