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ADHD and Grief: Diagnosis and Differentiation at One Federally Qualified Health Center

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Family physicians provide medical care including diagnosis for children experiencing loss and grief. The cognitive impact of loss includes poor attention and concentration, suggestive of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Our study examined this phenomenon in a community health center (CHC) utilizing physicians’ surveys and a medical record audit of 378 children diagnosed with ADHD during a three-year period. Results identified ambiguous loss and trauma resulting from family instability, absent parent, domestic violence, abuse, and foster care, often unrecognized by physicians as producing grief accompanied by attention and concentration problems. Findings suggest exploration of repeated ambiguous losses in children with ADHD.
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Keywords: ADHD; ambiguous loss; attention; family medicine; grief; trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA 2: Family Health Center, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA

Publication date: October 3, 2017

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