Know the basics
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school.
How common is ADHD?
ADHD is a significant problem in many countries of the world, especially in developed countries. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder believed to affect up to 1 in 20 children in the developed countries
However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
It is thought that ADHD is very difficult to diagnose in children younger than 5. That is because many preschool children have some of the symptoms seen in ADHD in various situations. Also, children change very rapidly during the preschool years.
There are three subtypes of ADHD that are classified:
- Predominantly inattentive. The majority of symptoms fall under inattention.
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. The majority of symptoms are hyperactive and impulsive.
- The most common type, this is a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
ADHD occurs more often in males than in females, and behaviors can be different in boys and girls. For example, boys may be more hyperactive and girls may tend to be quietly inattentive.
The primary features of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder include inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. ADHD symptoms start before age 12, and in some children, they’re noticeable as early as 3 years of age. ADHD symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe
Inattention: A child who shows a pattern of inattention may often:
- Have trouble staying focused in tasks or play
- Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork
- Appear not to listen, even when spoken to directly
- Have difficulty following through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork or chores
- Have trouble organizing tasks and activities
- Avoid or dislike tasks that require focused mental effort, such as homework
- Lose items needed for tasks or activities, for example, toys, school assignments, pencils
- Be easily distracted
- Forget to do some daily activities, such as forgetting to do chores
Hyperactivity and impulsivity: A child who shows a pattern of hyperactive and impulsive symptoms may often:
- Fidget with or tap his or her hands or feet, or squirm in the seat
- Have difficulty staying seated in the classroom or in other situations
- Be on the go, in constant motion
- Run around or climb in situations when it’s not appropriate
- Have trouble playing or doing an activity quietly
- Talk too much
- Blurt out answers, interrupting the questioner
- Have difficulty waiting for his or her turn
- Interrupt or intrude on others’ conversations, games or activities
Additional issues: Additionally, a child with ADHD may have:
- Symptoms for at least six months
- Several symptoms that negatively affect school, home life or relationships in more than one setting, such as at home and at school
- Behaviors that aren’t normal for children the same age who don’t have ADHD
When should I see my doctor?
In case you are concerned that your child shows signs of ADHD, see your pediatrician or family doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, but it is important to have a medical evaluation first to check for other possible causes of your child’s difficulties.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes ADHD?
Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include:
- Genetics: ADHD can run in families, and studies indicate that genes may play a role.
- Environment: Certain environmental factors, such as lead exposure, may increase risk.
- Development: Problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development may play a role.
What increases my risk for ADHD?
There are a great number of risk factors can cause ADHD and these are some common ones, include:
- Blood relatives, such as a parent or sibling, with ADHD or another mental health disorder
- Exposure to environmental toxins – such as lead, found mainly in paint and pipes in older buildings
- Maternal drug use, alcohol use or smoking during pregnancy
- Premature birth
Diagnosis & Treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
Though your child may have some symptoms that seem like ADHD, it might be something else. That’s why you need a doctor to check it out.
There is no specific test for ADHD. Instead, diagnosing is a process taking some several steps and involving gathering a lot of information from multiple sources. You, your child, your child’s school, and other caregivers should be involved in assessing your child’s behavior.
A doctor will also ask what symptoms your child has, how long ago those symptoms started, and how the behavior affects your child and the rest of your family. Doctors diagnose ADHD in children after a child has shown six or more specific symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity on a regular basis for more than 6 months in at least two settings. The doctor will consider how a child’s behavior compares with that of other children the same age.
How is ADHD treated?
Standard treatments for ADHD in children include medications, education, training and counseling. These treatments can help to relieve many of the symptoms of ADHD, but they actually don’t cure it. It may take some time to determine what works best for your child.
Currently, stimulant drugs are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. Stimulants appear to boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These medications help improve the signs and symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity — sometimes effectively in a short period of time.
Other medications that may be effective in treating ADHD include:
- Atomoxetine (Strattera)
- Antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin, others)
- Guanfacine (Intuniv, Tenex)
- Clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay)
ADHD behavior therapy
Children with ADHD often benefit from behavior therapy and counseling, which may be provided by a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health care professional. Some children with ADHD may also have other conditions such as anxiety disorder or depression. In these cases, counseling may help both ADHD and the coexisting problem.
There’s little research that indicates that alternative medicine treatments can reduce ADHD symptoms. Before considering any alternative interventions, talk with your doctor to determine if the therapy is safe. Some alternative medicine treatments that have been tried, but are not yet fully proved scientifically, include:
- Yoga or meditation
- Special diets
- Vitamin or mineral supplements
- Proprietary formulations
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage ADHD?
There is no known way to prevent attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, you should do some useful tips below to decrease the risk for ADHD:
- Take care of yourself: Caring for your own physical and mental health is an important part of helping your child
- Educate yourself about ADHD: You will be better able to help your child if you understand the condition.
- Teach your child that actions have consequences
- Help your child build self-esteem
- Help your child get the most out of school
- Help your child get things done
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 10, 2017 | Last Modified: February 20, 2017
Childhood ADHD. http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd . Accessed 10 Feb, 2017.
Childhood ADHD. http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/ . Accessed 10 Feb, 2017.
Childhood ADHD. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/home/ovc-20196177 . Accessed 10 Feb, 2017.