Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence. It is the most common disorder among children and adolescents referred for mental health services. ADHD is characterized by:
- Developmentally inappropriate over-activity
- Inability to pay attention or focus on tasks
- Impulsive behavior
ADHD affects 3% to 8% of all children and is associated with cognitive, social, and academic deficiencies. Undiagnosed and untreated (or wrongly treated), those with ADHD often experience failure in school or on the job, depression, low self-esteem, problems forming and maintaining relationships, and substance abuse.
Distinguishing normal variations of attention from an ADHD diagnosis can, at times, be challenging. Common conditions such as anxiety, depression, and various disruptive behaviors may superficially look like and be mistaken for ADHD.
Misdiagnosis often leads to mistreatment or no treatment, either of which can result in negative consequences. Only a thorough clinical evaluation by a professional well-versed in the field of ADHD with the expertise to establish a differential diagnosis is qualified to assess and address all pieces of what may be a complex clinical puzzle.
Our ADHD Diagnostic Approach
Prior to recommending treatment, Dr. Shnaps collects and evaluates an extensive history from parents, teachers, and the patient, along with the patient’s medical history, and conducts a clinical evaluation that includes a thorough psychiatric/psychological assessment.
The Motion Analysis section of the report provides information gathered by an infrared motion tracking system, which measures the slightest movements. Individuals with ADHD tend to find it more difficult to inhibit their movement, resulting in movement patterns that are more expansive and less constrained over the duration of the test.
The robustness of the motion data is directly related to the sensitivity of the infrared motion tracking technology, which records movements as small as 0.4 mm, 50 times/ second. Movement expansiveness and patterns are used to identify potential symptoms of excessive motor activity characteristic of ADHD.
The Attention Analysis section of the report shows the patient’s responses to a computerized “go/ no-go” attention task. In the child test, two stimulus items are presented at an interval of two seconds: one target (8-point star) and one non-target (5-point star). The patient is instructed to hit the space bar whenever a target appears at random positions on the screen and is not to hit any key when the non-target appears. The unique attention state analysis uses proprietary analysis algorithms to provide a continuous summary of the patient attention response pattern in a 30-second period of assessment.
ADHD Treatment and Follow Up
Treatment and follow up vary according to the diagnosis and situation. Scientific evidence shows that the most effective treatment for ADHD is combined psychopharmacology and psychotherapy. If it is determined that ADHD is not involved, other approaches may be recommended.
We use ongoing treatment and clinical follow up to achieve the following objectives:
- Match treatment to patient.
- Monitor and evaluate treatment effectiveness.
- Treat refractory (non-responsive) symptoms more effectively.
- Monitor the course of ADHD, assessing and documenting symptom improvement over time.