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A 48-year-old male asked:

my daughter was diagnosed with attention deficient hyperactivity disorder is she considered disabled? she diagnosed with adhd and she was precribed with some meds that are caalled controlled substance.

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Naghmeh Moshtael
Pediatrics 28 years experience
Attention : Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not considered a "disability." it is a developmental disorder where the patient suffers from inattention or hyperactivity and or a combination of the two. In the past, we labelled too often "difficult" children with adhd and over-medicated them. To diagnose a child with adhd, I am sure that your provider thoroughly interviewed your child, you as parent to make sure that your child me specific diagnostic criteria. The beat treatment consists of a combination of behavioral treatment (where as parents you learn how to help your child and the child learns skills to deal with his/her adhd) and medication treatment. Some of the medications prescribed for adhd are called "stimulants" and if not properly distributed can be misused by others (not the patient) for other purposes - eg. To improve test taking (mostly to stay awake), appetite suppressants, or even as raw material to synthesize illicit drugs like methamphetamines. So this is the reason why the medications are classified as "controlled substances." for the children who are prescribed these medications, they need close follow ul by their physicians to avoid potential side effects like insomnia (trouble with sleep), growth stunting due to poor weight gain among others. There are also newer adhd medications that are "non-stimulants." the diagnosis of adhd does not mean that your child is disabled. It does imply that your child will need your help and that of his/her school to succeed at school and in life. When a child is diagnosed with adhd, your provider will also advise you to have your child evaluated for any learning disability that can mimic adhd and go unaddressed. In many states, you can request your school district to test your child for such learning disability. It also important to contact your child school teacher(s) to make sure that you begin implementing any needed steps at school that you have discussed in behavioral treatment and or the teachers may have recommended to help your child succeed at school.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Child Psychiatry 43 years experience
Sort of.: Adhd is explicitly mentioned in the americans with disabilities act, so it qualifies as a disability, meaning that schools or the workplace need to make accomodations if needed to help her succeed. However, it is highly unlikely to qualify for her for disability because it rarely is that impairing. Stimulants are controlled substances but highly useful for treating adhd.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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