According to the American Psychiatric Association, ADHD is a common affliction with as many as 7% of school-aged children diagnosed with it.
The terms ADHD and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) have been often used to describe the same thing. However, ADD is no longer a recognized description. Anne Rao, MD of Opal Court Pediatrics explained that, “ADHD is a neurobehavioral disease which presents itself with behavioral problems and learning difficulties.” It is also more common in boys than girls.
A child who has ADHD commonly exhibits the following symptoms:
- Has trouble staying focused on any given task.
- Exhibits hyperactive behavior such as non-stop talking or being unable to sit still.
- Often acts without thinking.
- Is forgetful, even if it is something they do every day.
- Has difficulty concentrating on homework.
- Has an inability to finish tasks such as chores or homework.
You may be looking at that list and thinking most children do those things, but if ADHD is the true culprit, these symptoms will be consistently present over a long period of time, making it difficult for them to function at home or school.
To diagnose ADHD, pediatricians consider multiple factors. Dr. Rao said, “Symptoms need to be present in more than one setting. Both parents and teachers are asked to fill out questionnaires and based on the symptoms score a diagnosis is made. Educational and cognitive testing is also important to see if the child has other learning difficulties.”
For the large number of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, a successful social, home and scholastic life is still possible since ADHD is a treatable disorder. Dr. Rao expanded on this, saying, “There have been very good results with the use of behavioral therapy and stimulant medications.” Treatment for ADHD often includes medication, behavior modification or a combination of the two.
It is important for children who may have ADHD to receive a professional opinion so that they can begin the appropriate solutions. If you think your child may have ADHD, provide them with the help they need by visiting your pediatrician for evaluation. No one should have to walk around in a fog.
By: Sarah Koons