Faces of ADHD: Diagnoses continue to grow - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Faces of ADHD: Diagnoses continue to grow

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Most of us have heard about ADHD, chances are you have a family member or a friend with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

According to the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, more than 6.1 million children and adolescents have the condition.

Riley Miano is like millions of others living with ADHD.

She described every day feeling like something is going around in her brain and she keeps going and can't stop.

Her parent's said she's like the energizer bunny.

Riley is what many people think of when they think ADHD but Billings Clinic Psychiatrist, Dr. Eric Arzubi, said: "ADHD can look like a lot of different things, unfortunately."

The most commonly seen type of ADHD is Hyperactive Impulsive type but doctor's also identify people with ADHD who are inattentive or have a combination of qualities.

Being hyperactive or inattentive doesn't mean a person has ADHD according to Dr. Arzubi, "There might be a learning disability, it turns out 50% of kids with ADHD can also be diagnosed with a learning disability so we want to be very careful and not jump to conclusions going that child needs medication."

He said when making a diagnoses Psychiatrists typically look for problems at school and at home before making a diagnosis because "we're trying to push our kids to do something they may not always be very natural and that is sit still for 8 hours, be good at everything, and if you're not there's a problem."

Nearly two-thirds of children with ADHD also have one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.

For Riley it's anxiety.

Her mother Stacie Miano, said Riley doesn't want to be judged in any way, shape, or form which is tough.

Riley said she does get judged.

She said she doesn't like to go to school because she gets bullied and it's hard to concentrate.

But what about the other side of the spectrum?

Dr. Arzubi said he's seeing many female teens being diagnosed with inattentive ADHD.

"ADHD in girls tends to be more the inattentive type rather than hyperactive impulsive type so as a result can be often diagnosed later." according to Dr. Arzubi.

He said it's not that their ADHD just pops up but that it's been missed for many years.

"As the school years progress and you need more and different skills to do well in school it starts to show more and more so, as a result, it hurts self-esteem as school functioning and grades start to go down. Hurts self-esteem, creates more stress these kids feel more overwhelmed because all of this information is coming at them they struggle to organize it," explained Dr. Arzubi.

Psychiatrists and school counselors said they agree that while there isn't a direct link between ADHD and social media the amount of time teens spend looking down at their phones isn't helping.

Billings West High School Counselor, Beth Tocci, said the presence of social media causes students to always be on.

She said, "[social media] being a constant and a constant distraction and trying to keep up and trying to fit in and trying to follow who's doing what has to be a major influence on taking their focus away from what's happening in the educational setting."

If the ADHD goes undiagnosed things can go downhill.

Dr. Arzubi said making impulsive decisions as a 7 year old versus a 17 year old the consequences can be very different but if you treat ADHD properly you are less likely to get yourself into trouble with impulsive decision making than if you're not treating the ADHD and that includes later on the use of drugs and alcohol and so forth."

ADHD can be managed using medications, special diets, and behavioral therapy.

Dr. Arzubi said things like forgetfulness, disorganization, and impulsive decisions are something everyone experiences but when those things impact daily life at home and work or school there may be a bigger problem.

Talking with your physician can help you determine whether or not you or your child has ADHD.

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