Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity that affects millions of children. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 6.4 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD. More than 11 percent of Iowa's children are living with ADHD. Although ADHD is most commonly identified in childhood, it often persists through adolescence and adulthood. ADHD can affect the entire family.  Recent studies show that married couples who have a child with ADHD (who is 8 years or younger) are almost twice as likely to file for divorce.

Symptoms of ADHD

It's normal for children of all ages to be inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive at times. However, children with Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder will have trouble controlling these behaviors. Types of Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder include the inattentive type, the hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined type.

Signs of inattention:

  • Becoming easily distracted and switching activities often
  • Becoming bored quickly
  • Having short attention-span
  • Trouble finishing and turning in homework
  • Losing things like school supplies or toys
  • Not listening or paying attention
  • Struggling to follow directions
  • Daydreaming
  • Being forgetful with daily tasks
  • Making careless mistakes, rushing through work
  • Signs of hyperactivity:

  • Fidgeting and squirming
  • Having trouble staying seated
  • Difficulty playing quietly
  • Talking too much
  • Running around and climbing on things
  • Signs of impulsivity:

  • Difficulty waiting, taking turns, and sharing
  • Interrupting others
  • Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question


  • ADHD does not cause psychological or developmental problems, but children with ADHD are at a higher risk for developing learning disorders, anxiety disorders, conduct disorders and mood disorders like depression. When left untreated, children are at risk for school failure. They may show signs of low self-esteem and have trouble making and keeping friends.

    Causes

    Several factors contribute to ADHD but there is no single cause. The disorder often runs in the family and symptoms frequently begin at birth, as seen in feeding and sleeping problems. Environmental factors including cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy have been linked to ADHD.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    It can be difficult to tell whether a child has ADHD because symptoms can look like typical behaviors in young children. Symptoms can overlap with other mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

    There is no cure for ADHD, but with early detection and treatment, ADHD can be managed and lead to better outcomes for both the child and their family. Treatment is based on a child's needs. The best results are found using a combination of the following:

  • Parent education and training
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Medication
  • School programming and support
  • It's important for parents to understand the signs and symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and communicate any concerns with a mental health professional. If you believe that your child shows signs of ADHD, call Orchard place today to make an appointment for an assessment. Our staff specializes in the care of children, youth and families.

    We are here to help you and your child cope with ADHD and develop a strong future.