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“My Misdiagnosis Nightmare Came True”

Every mother agonizes about whether to put their child on medication to treat ADHD. But what if you did, then found out it wasn’t ADHD after all? It happened to us.

How chilling it was to find out my daughter didn’t have ADHD after she was already taking medication to treat it. Was I ecstatic or furious, thankful or bewildered? All of the above — and much, much, more. Questions raced through my head. How could this mistake happen? If it happened to her, how many other children are living with an ADHD misdiagnosis?

My daughter suffered from depression and was diagnosed early on with this disorder, taking Prozac faithfully every day. Then, two years ago, a well-known psychiatrist diagnosed Jessie with ADHD. It’s common knowledge that ADHD is a co-morbid disorder, meaning it often occurs at the same time as one or more other conditions. So, I was reasonably comfortable with the assessment because I knew there was a high chance something else was going on.

After a few months of taking ADHD medication, something was off, and suddenly her temper would rage out of control for the least little thing. She was moody, irritable, and just plain miserable. Something was wrong. All of my mom radar was signaling that my sweet daughter was not only looking different but also feeling horrible almost every single day.

Hindsight is 20-20 and I should have taken action more quickly than I did. I am a firm believer in Western medicine, and why should I — of all people — doubt what the psychiatrist diagnosed? It took me almost a year to challenge the medical authority and get a second opinion, a year my daughter wasted taking medication that wasn’t needed and could have done her harm.

We went to an ADHD clinic in Southern California to have brain scans performed. This procedure was completely harmless and almost entirely non-invasive except for some dye injected into a vein to illuminate parts of her brain as they worked. The results were remarkable.

After thousands and thousands of scans performed researchers can tell when a person has ADHD because research tells them that certain parts of the brain will fire and light up for certain reasons. When areas fire too little or too much there is a problem.

My daughter does not have an ADHD brain. Instead, she has all the common signs of a mood disorder and someone who has suffered a previous concussion.

Our first order of business was to stop the ADHD meds, continue Prozac, and add a SAM-e supplement to her regimen to aide depression. We also added extra Vitamin B, Omega 3 and GABA to help her mood disorder. Believe me when I tell you that she noticed a difference in herself after one day, and I noticed a difference after one dosage.

My internist would not perform many of the follow-up medical tests the clinic recommended. She said they were a waste of time and money. We paid out of pocket to have an in-depth blood, saliva, and stool testing done ourselves.

The stool test showed that my daughter’s GI system is loaded with Candida yeast, which we will eliminate holistically. There’s no telling what the rest of the tests will say about her system, but it feels so encouraging and hopeful to know we are finally moving closer to wellness.

I don’t intend to insult the medical profession, or shame people who take medication for ADHD. If you actually have the condition, it can be very helpful!

I share our story to remind all parents to be aware and advocate for your child, no matter what her age, if you feel something is not working or if her symptoms are getting worse. People are misdiagnosed all the time, and many symptoms mimic other conditions. Moms, listen to your gut, and follow your instincts — they won’t steer you wrong.

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