Understanding ADHD in Children

ADHD in children

ADHD is an abbreviation for a condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children. The symptoms of this condition tend to vary and may be difficult to recognize in some cases. Some symptoms of ADHD are usually normal for children to experience.

Both children and adults can have this condition, but symptoms usually begin in childhood. It causes children to have trouble following directions, sitting calmly, and performing tasks.

Types of ADHD

After a diagnosis, a doctor will determine which of the following ADHD your child has:

Combined ADHD: This is the most common type, and children with ADHD usually have all the three primary symptoms: impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive.

Hyperactive-Impulsive type: Here, a child only has two of the main symptoms, but they're able to pay attention for the most part.

Inattentive type: Formerly referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD), inattentive ADHD tends not to show symptoms. Kids with this condition are usually not overly active and don't cause any disruption in class.

What are the symptoms of this condition?

Do you suspect your kid has ADHD? Well, don't be conclusive as symptoms tend to vary and it's difficult to find kids showing similar symptoms.

For toddlers and preschoolers, their behavior seems to be extreme when they have this disorder. They can't maintain a calm or still position. You will see them climbing, jumping, running and talking all of the time. It's like something is powering them up. Their concentration is usually rather poor with restless and fidgeting behavior. Unexpectedly, some kids with ADHD tend to pay attention to things they like such as video games and toys.

So, if you notice unusual behavior in your toddler or preschooler, it helps to pay a visit to a doctor.

In elementary school kids, you may notice other symptoms too. Keep in mind that not all ADHD children are hyperactive; this might become apparent years later as the child grows. You'll notice the child is unable to focus and he or she is having trouble planning things or completing certain tasks.

When the child is around other children of his or her age, they tend to have trouble with taking turns, sharing, and letting others talk. They're also susceptible to frustration whenever they feel they don't like something. In this state, kids tend to act without thinking, making them vulnerable to accidents within their environment. So, it helps to monitor your child and try to understand them if you notice something peculiar.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

As of June 2017, there is no specific or definitive test designed for diagnosing ADHD. What the doctor does is gather information about your child from different sources and attempt to draw a conclusion using it. The process can involve talking to people who are usually close to the child most of the time.

The doctor will want to know when the symptoms started, how they are affecting the child's behavior, and what impact this has on the rest of the family.

Using these experiences and observations, the doctor will compare your child's behavior with that of other kids of the same age. The doctor will look at the child's medical history, take a physical exam, and conduct a noninvasive brain scan to understand their state further.

Treatment for ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a complex disorder that's usually difficult to diagnose. So, treatment tends to involve a combination of drugs and behavioral and psychological therapies. Parents need to work with doctors, teachers, and therapists to ensure the best possible care for their children.

Doctors mostly prescribe stimulants for ADHD children even though there's controversy about them. Stimulants help patients by boosting concentration and reducing hyperactivity. Examples of these medications include Focalin, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Metadate, Daytrana and Adderall.

Non-stimulants, such as atomoxetine and clonidine can also be given to children with this condition. Psychological therapy can also be effective to help both the parents and the child to learn more about the new behaviors and find ways to reduce them through other productive skills.

When using medications, it's important to note there are risks and side effects. If there's anything that comes up, don't hesitate to let your doctor know about it.

ADHD can cause growth and development problems if ignored. Their school performance and grades are likely to deteriorate and they are likely to get into trouble often. The right treatment and support will help your child and ensure they lead a normal life like their friends.

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Last Reviewed:
June 14, 2017
Last Updated:
October 09, 2017
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