Hattiesburg doctor debunks ADHD myths and misleading information


HATTIESBURG, Miss. - There are tons of misleading information about people diagnosed with ADHD -- who are people that are generally written off as lazy or undisciplined.

"[They say] you have to be bad. You have to have a behavior problem to have ADHD. Actually you do see behavior problems, but like we talked about before, you definitely can have ADHD and be an angel in class. You can have no behavior problems at all," said Hattiesburg Clinic Connections Medical Professional, Dr. Ronald Kent.

Dr. Kent explains how people should understand that if someone has ADHD, it does not mean they are exempt from good behavior. "In fact, you can sit back there and be one of the sweetest and calmest children in class but just not paying attention at all,” He goes on to explain that if an adult had ADHD as a child, they can still have the same disorder in adulthood. The last time I checked there was 2 million adults taking medication for ADHD and it can really significantly effect your tasks at work. In fact it’s not unusual to see them with multiple jobs and be very frustrated in the work place because they want to do well,"

Havard University's Dr. Joseph Biederman performed a study on children diagnosed with ADHD along with the use of drug and alcohol abuse. “If you’re an adolescent with ADHD but you’re treated for your ADHD, then you have about a 25 percent for drug and alcohol abuse. But if you have ADHD that’s untreated and you go through your adolescent, you have about a 75 percent chance of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Dr. Kent during the interview.

When a child visits a professional to confirm symptoms of ADHD, doctors like Kent, take careful steps to make a diagnosis.

“First they come in for a regular history and physical that we do to make sure that there isn’t any other problems that could be causing issues. Let’s say that child has a lot of bad allergies. Maybe that child doesn’t pay attention as well. Lets say that child doesn’t sleep well at night, that child may not pay attention as well. If a child is sleep deprived, which by the way is the number one reason for school problems in America today, sleep deprivation. Then they maybe irritable at school and have behavioral problems. So they are other things that can cause school problems,”

He said his patients receive a screen reading by a speech pathologist, a full psychological evaluation by a clinic psychologist and some general computer evaluations. “What most people can identify with the amphetamine group is the Adderall type pf medicine. And the methylphenidate group is the Ritalin type of medicine. Fortunately, bout 90 to 95 percent of the time, we can find a medication that does help the child’s symptoms of ADHD,”

The doctor recommends, if you see a child struggling in school, get them evaluated -- whether they have a disorder or not, their self-esteem is on the line. “I just had a patient with a 117 IQ that was making C’s, D’s and F’s. You shouldn’t do that and yet the parent’s say the teacher say there’s no problem. Well, there’s a problem if you have a 117 IQ and you’re making C’s, D’s and F’s,” said Dr. Kent.

Overall, Dr. Kent stated there are different methods and techniques when it comes to treating ADHD with the use of medication, skill building and environmental changed to eliminate distractions.

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