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
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
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.
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
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.