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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood mental health disorders. It affects millions of children and can continue though adolescence and adulthood. People with ADHD may be hyperactive (over-active) and have difficulty paying attention and controlling behaviors.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD usually appear early in life, often between ages 3 and 6. Formerly referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), ADHD is now the preferred term because it describes both primary aspects of the condition: inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. Most children with ADHD demonstrate a combination of both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behaviors.

Inattention Behaviors:

  • Being easily distracted and daydreaming
  • Confusion, forgetfulness and switching activities frequently
  • Difficulty focusing on one thing – becoming bored quickly
  • Trouble completing homework or tasks and losing things
  • Difficulty following instructions

Hyperactive-Impulsive Behaviors:

  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Talking excessively
  • Constantly in motion and generally restless
  • Being impatient or having trouble waiting his/her turn
  • Interruption and intruding

Treatment for ADHD

ADHD is one of the most researched and treatable mental health disorders. There are numerous options for treatment, which is personalized for each individual’s needs. Most people respond extremely well to medication. Along with medication, treatment for ADHD usually includes education and counseling, which can help a great deal in reducing or eliminating symptoms.

Most healthy children are inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive at one time or another. Sometimes these normal factors may be mistaken for ADHD. However, if ADHD is suspected, a parent may want to talk to the family pediatrician. Some pediatricians can assess the child themselves, but many will refer the family to a mental health specialist.