By Caroline Miller 

When kids have behavior and attention issues in school, the first explanation that comes to mind is often ADHD. But exposure to trauma can also cause symptoms that look like ADHD. And trauma is often overlooked when kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD.

Children with ADHD can be fidgety (always getting out of their seats), distracted (not paying attention to the teacher), and disruptive in class. Kids who have had a traumatic experience – or repeated exposure to violence or abuse – do some of the same things. They are unusually sensitive to signs of danger or threat, which can cause them to be jumpy and unable to settle down. They may see people as out to get them, so are prone to lashing out. They may also have intrusive thoughts about traumatic events they’ve experienced, and that can make kids look spacey and distracted.

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Trends in U.S. Emergency Department Visits Related to Suspected or Confirmed Child Abuse and Neglect Among Children and Adolescents Aged <18 Years Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January 2019–September 2020

By The C.D.C. Heightened stress, school closures, loss of income, and social isolation resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have increased the risk for child abuse and neglect (1). [...]

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