ADHD: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder explained

Got questions about ADHD? Get answers here.

little girl sitting at her desk at school

If a child doesn’t listen well and is constantly active, does that mean he/she has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

No. Because almost all children exhibit inconsistent behaviors, ADHD isn’t that easily diagnosed. What we do know is ADHD is increasing. More than 6 percent of school-aged children have it, with boys outnumbering girls.

What is typical behavior?

This developmental disorder affects children’s behavior, attention and learning. Children with the disorder are impulsive, have trouble concentrating, act without thinking, are easily frustrated and subject to mood swings.

How is the disorder diagnosed?

Since all children are unruly at times, a diagnosis usually requires that the symptoms have been present for at least six months by age 7. The diagnostic process requires several steps, but the first step is to make an appointment with your child’s provider if you suspect ADHD.

Is treatment necessary?

It has become one of the most researched childhood conditions. With increased awareness and medical expertise, more children are getting the help they need to function productively. If left untreated, children with ADHD struggle with poor self-esteem and failures that can last a lifetime.

Are the medications recommended for ADHD safe for children?

Psycho stimulant medications have been associated with immediate and long-term effects. The most common side effects are loss of appetite and insomnia, as well as mood swings. But most of the side effects are short-lived and well-managed with a high protein diet and consistent drug and food habits.

Next steps

If you are concerned with your child’s behavior or attention span, or if he/she has issues at school or concern from a teacher, make an appointment with a pediatrician. Early diagnosis and intervention is the key to successfully managing ADHD.

Posted In Behavioral Health, Children's, Health Information

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