Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a behavioral health condition that makes it difficult to focus on a specific task. Children with ADHD may experience trouble in school, and ADHD may often be confused or mislabeled as general misbehaving or attention-seeking. It’s important to parents to know the signs and symptoms of ADHD, and seek an evaluation from a healthcare provider if they suspect their child may be showing symptoms of ADHD.
What is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
There are three different types of ADHD, which are determined by the symptoms a child may exhibit:
- Inattentive ADHD: With this type of ADHD, it may be difficult for a child to focus on a specific task or detail. Children with inattentive ADHD may seem distracted or have trouble following instructions.
- Hyperactive ADHD: This type of ADHD is characterized by a fidgeting or restlessness. Children with hyperactive ADHD may be constantly active, climbing, jumping, and running. They may also find it difficult to wait their turn or may interrupt others when it is not their turn to speak.
- Combined ADHD: In this type of ADHD, symptoms of inattentive ADHD and hyperactive ADHD are equally present.
It’s important to understand that as a child grows and develops, the symptoms of ADHD may change, and therefore the type of ADHD they are diagnosed with may change as well.
Symptoms of ADHD
Many children experience a lack of focus or may misbehave from time to time. However, when this behavior persists or causes difficulty with learning or results in disciplinary action at school, an evaluation for ADHD may be recommended. Common symptoms of ADHD include:
- Seem fidgety or jittery
- Take actions without thinking them through
- Talk when not called upon or when not appropriate
- Forget or misplace items frequently
- Have trouble getting along with others
In order for a diagnosis of ADHD to be determined, symptoms must occur in two or more settings (e.g., home and school).
Treatment for ADHD
Seeking treatment for ADHD begins with an evaluation by a licensed healthcare provider. Once they have completed the evaluation and determined a diagnosis of ADHD, they will work with the child and family to create a treatment plan customized to the child’s age, symptoms and other unique needs.
Treatment may include therapy and education for both the child and parents, and may also include medication.
There is currently no known cause for ADHD, so it’s not clear what actions or behaviors might prevent ADHD from occurring in children. It’s important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of ADHD, and to be proactive when they suspect that their child may be showing symptoms. Early detection leads to early treatment, which can help a child have access to the care they need to help them grow, develop and thrive.