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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 3 year old - ADHD or medical problem?

 kimmad - Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:28 pm

I am at the end of my rope with my 3 year old. I'd questioned before about his allergy problems, but he is exhibiting other symptoms that are literally making him impossible to deal with - very much like ADHD. However, I'm wondering if there is some other medical issue causing his problems, and hope you can point me in the right direction.

~frequent bowel movements, up to 5 per day, usually after eating (not watery, but very bad odor)
~Extreme hyperactivity - cannot sit still for more than a few minutes
~Extreme irritability and oppositional behavior - this is getting worse.
~Poor sleeping - has difficulty falling asleep and often wakes up in the middle of the night. Also a very early riser. He is also a very restless sleeper, moving around constantly in bed.
~Lots of nasal discharge, often colored.

Again, he had his tonsils & adenoids out, plus tubes in ears, in March. We are going to the ENT on Wed for further evaluation. And I've started the steps to evaluate him for ADHD. He's also been to the allergist, which was not very helpful. We had his blood and urine tested - all came back normal (checked for lead, diabetes, cbc etc.).

Could there be some other underlying medical problem? Another specialist I should see? Could it be endocrine? Gastrointestinal? We are really losing it with his behavior, it's become that bad, but if it's medical, I'd want to get that taken care of.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated. thanks.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:16 pm

User avatar Hi Kimmad,

I suspect most pediatricians will be very reluctant to diagnose a three year old with ADHD. The reason for this is that diagnosis needs the hyperactivity/attention deficit behavior in two settings. Basically, for children this means at home and at school.

With your son's symptoms I do think there are some other issues that should be investigated. I'd recommend he see his doctor and have his thyroid levels evaluated. Also, you mention that he has trouble sleeping. This may actually be the underlying issue as well. Children who don't sleep well at night often will have problems with hyperactivity and ADHD like symptoms during the day. You may want to talk to your doctor about doing a sleep study with your son.

I think you are correct to look for something other than ADHD. Follow up with his doctor is important.

Best wishes.

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