attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral condition in which children have difficulties
paying attention and focusing on tasks. This common disorder begins in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. If
not recognized and treated, it can cause problems at home, school, and work and with relationships.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
The three types of ADHD symptoms are:
Inattention. This is the most common symptom. In addition
to having difficulty paying attention, people with this symptom often are unable to consistently focus, remember, and organize.
They may be careless and have a hard time starting and completing tasks that are boring, repetitive, or challenging.
Impulsivity. People who frequently act before
thinking may not make sound judgments or solve problems well. They may also have trouble developing and maintaining personal
relationships. An adult may not keep the same job for long or spend money wisely.
Hyperactivity. A hyperactive child may squirm, fidget, and climb
or run when it is not appropriate. These children often have difficulty playing with others. They may talk a great deal and
not be able to sit still for even a short time. Teenagers and adults who are hyperactive don't usually have the more obvious
physical behaviors seen in children. Rather, they often feel restless and fidgety and are not able to enjoy reading or other
with ADHD have signs of both hyperactivity and attention problems. This is called combined type ADHD. When children have significant
problems with hyperactivity and impulsivity and fewer problems with attention, it is called predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
type ADHD. Some children mainly have problems with inattention and fewer problems with hyperactivity and impulsivity. This
is called predominantly inattentive type ADHD.
Symptoms of all types of ADHD can range from mild to severe. Other conditions,
such as learning disabilities, depression, anxiety disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder, are sometimes mistaken for ADHD. They may also occur along with ADHD, which can make diagnosis of the primary problem difficult.
What causes ADHD?
While the exact cause is not clear, researchers have
found that ADHD tends to run in families, so a genetic factor is likely. Ongoing research is focused on identifying genes
that cause a person to be susceptible to ADHD. Studies have also shown a possible
link between alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy and ADHD.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
ADHD is often diagnosed when a child is 6 to 12 years of age. Children in this age group are most easily diagnosed
because symptoms become more noticeable in school. It is more difficult to diagnose ADHD in a child younger than age 6 because
the symptoms can also occur periodically during normal development. ADHD can be assessed by a mental health or medical professional.
Working with an ADHD Child