May 28, 2019
If your child is always engaging in roughhousing and has a very short attention span at home and at school, you may be worried that he or she has Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD. Depending on your child’s age though, these may just be normal behaviors for that developmental stage. How to tell the difference?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning and development.”
When a child has ADHD, these behaviors are more persistent and negatively impact his or her daily functioning as well as natural growth and development. The American Psychiatric Association reports that about 8.4 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults are diagnosed with ADHD and that “diagnosis involves gathering information from parents, teachers and others, filling out checklists and having a medical evaluation (including vision and hearing screening) to rule out other medical problems.”
There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive or a combination of the two. A psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or primary doctor typically makes the diagnosis based on observed symptoms over the previous 6 months.
Among the common symptoms of ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, Children & Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) and Kids Health:
• Being very fidgety, the need to always be doing something
• Frequently interrupting others’ conversation
• Difficulty focusing on anything for more than a few minutes
• Lack of impulse control
• Strong emotional reactions that seem out of place
• Often makes careless mistakes because of lack of attention to detail
• Difficulty completing tasks at home and at school or work
• Lack of organizational skills
• Forgetfulness and poor listening skills.
Unfortunately there is no cure for ADHD. Standard treatment includes a combination of medication (stimulant or non-stimulant) and therapy.
If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD, don’t wait any longer to get an evaluation. The earlier diagnosis, the better chance you have of getting the help your child needs. This can be a stressful time as a parent so it is important to know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Join a support group and find out what resources are available for you and your child. Visit The National Resource Center on ADHD for more information.