Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common diagnoses given to children. Average onset is age seven and the condition is more predominant in boys. Symptom categories are impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. ADHD may be caused by genetics and research is continuing to evaluate the impact of other factors such as environment and nutrition.
- Common symptoms for ADHD include:
- Inability to pay attention and maintain focus
- Difficulty completing homework or learning new tasks
- Talking nonstop
- Running around
- Lacking patience
- Constantly interrupting
Some of these symptoms are common behaviors during certain developmental stages, so for a child to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, behaviors must be severe and last longer than 6 months.
Common treatments for ADHD include medications, therapy, and psycho-education. Medications are typically stimulants and help the child increase his/her ability to focus. Common medications are Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Concerta and Strattera. Side effects of the medications may include reduced appetite, sleep problems, and on rare occasions, a tic. Parents or other caregivers can help the child by recognizing and rewarding positive behaviors and engaging in calming and regulating activities with the child throughout the day.
Please note that many of the symptoms associated with ADHD are also common for other diagnoses or occur for short periods of time during significant life events. Some of these diagnoses include anxiety, learning disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Life events that may trigger these behaviors may include the loss of a family member, divorce, or a medical event. Parents or caregivers should consult a health professional if they suspect their child has ADHD.
This information was gathered from National Institute of Mental Health.org.