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What are the medical tests to be done before diagnosing with autsim, adhd or anxiety in children?

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Before diagnosising a 5 year old with autsim, adhd or anxiety, what medical tests should be one. Yes I actually have those three diagnosis from three different doctors. We checked for allergies and anemia. Both negitive
Posted Tue, 8 Oct 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Sourav Das 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
diagnosis by regular follow up over time

Detailed Answer:

Thank you for your query.

Autism is a mental disorder characterized by decreased emotional responsiveness (like the child is oblivious to the presence or absence of parents, doesn't smile or react when smiled at etc), stereotypical behavior pattern (like rocking movements, head banging, hand flapping etc) and aberrant communication pattern (delayed or faulty development of speech and language, unable to initiate conversation etc).
Now, this condition often mimics or coexists with adhd (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which is characterised by impulsivity (jumping queue, blurting out answer before question is finished etc), attention deficit (inability to finish play or homework, getting distracted easily etc) and hyperactivity (restlessness, as if driven by a motor) in more than one setting (like school and home etc).
Now both of these can be confused with or have coexistent anxiety disorder (like apprehension, palpitations, shyness, avoidance of social situation, strangers etc.).

As you can understand, the diagnosis is a bit complicated, and more than one diagnosis is usually the norm in most patients.

It depends upon a detailed history taking, thorough mental status examination, and observation of the behavior of the child, and most important of all, over a period of time. In many cases, it is unlikely that a diagnosis can be reached in a single doctor visit.

Unfortunately, there are no medical tests that can confirm the diagnosis of any of these disorders (unlike a blood test for say, malaria).
The only way to confirm diagnosis is to follow up the child over time. Sometimes, IQ testing can be done to rule out mental retardation/ low intelligence, which may also mimic all these symptoms. A brain imaging, like CT Scan or MRI can sometimes point to some physical problem inside the brain (like tuberous sclerosis etc), which may cause such symptoms, but in a vast majority of cases of autism, adhd or anxiety, these are absolutely normal.

I would suggest you to please correspond with your treating psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation and keep following up with him for any emergence of new symptoms or a change in diagnosis if needed.

Hope I've been able to answer your query satisfactorily. Please feel free to contact me for any further clarifications if required.

Best of luck.
Dr. Sourav.
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