Knoxville (WVLT) - The personality characteristics that make up ADHD are hyper, impulsive and distractible.
But these seemingly negative traits can actually be a positive in certain life situations.
Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone continues part two of this special report.
When dr. Allen talks to young people about their ADHD diagnosis, he often draws them this chart.
A list of behaviors that describe the disorder, and more positive ways to think about them.
If you're hyperactive, you can also be considered energetic.
If you're impulsive, you may have the ability to make decisions quickly.
And if you're easily distracted, you probably pay good attention to detail.
Dr. Allen says, "So all those traits that look like ADHD, are really a personality style, that can help you some situations and hurt you in others."
Many children are on medicine to combat their ADHD symptoms and that helps them focus in the classroom. But that same medicine can actually slow them down on the soccer field.
And in fact, some children come off medication in the summer or during vacation.
There's no doubt medicine can change a child's quality of life, but dr. Allen guards against using medicine as the only treatment for ADHD.
"Sometimes you can take it for a year or two and develop better resources and not need it later. I know college students and adults that use it selectively."
And there are certain professions where ADHD personality traits are helpful, like working in a newsroom or even in a court of law.
Dr. Allen says, "I know an attorney who says in court, it helps him to be energetic, notice details and think quickly. Those are all the positive sides of ADHD. When he has to sit and read legal briefs all day, it's very demanding."
And in that case, ADHD medicine would help.
In order to properly diagnose ADHD, you must talk with your child's school psychologist, and be sure the proper cognitive and academic testing is done.
Parents and teachers will also be asked for their input.
Experts like Dr. Allen say ADHD is over-diagnosed and often a symptom of something else, whether it be stress, depression, a learning disability or possibly an autism spectrum disorder.
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