What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a childhood condition that often continues through adolescence and adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors without thinking about what the result will be, or be overly active.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6.1 million children 2-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Boys are more likely to have ADHD than girls. The CDC estimates that 12.9 percent of boys ages 2-17 have been diagnosed, compared to 5.6 percent of girls.
Determining if a child has ADHD requires a series of tests and information gathering by a health professional, including monitoring the child’s behavior at school and home.
Signs of ADHD
Many children have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD might:
- Daydream a lot
- Forget or lose things
- Squirm or fidget
- Talk too much
- Make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- Have a hard time resisting temptation
- Have trouble taking turns
- Have difficulty getting along with others
While there is no cure for ADHD, medication, behavior intervention and other treatments are often used to manage ADHD. The best treatment plans combine several options.
The most common form of medication used to treat ADHD is a stimulant, which can have a calming effect on children. Medication can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, improve the ability to focus and improve physical coordination for children with ADHD.
As with all medications, there are some side effects. However, most are minor and can be eliminated over time. Commonly reported side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
- Sleep problems
Regular exercise and a healthy diet that avoids food high in sugar or caffeine may also be beneficial for those with ADHD.
How Parents and Other Caregivers Can Help
Be patient. Approximately nine out of every 10 children respond to medications that help them manage their disorder, but medications should be monitored and may need to be altered over time as your child grows. It can take time for treatments to work and for your child to learn how to manage his or her symptoms.
Boost your child’s self-esteem. In addition to the symptoms of their disorder, children with ADHD may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Express your confidence in their abilities and celebrate their successes.
We’re Here to Help
If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, please contact Peace Hospital for a no-charge assessment and assistance with treatment options.