What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is a mental health condition characterized by unusual levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. The disorder can cause issues with focus and attention. Children (and adults) who had ADHD at younger ages tend to remain affected into adulthood.
What are the signs and symptoms of ADHD?
Some signs and symptoms of ADHD can be normal behavior for a child who is just very active, emotional, or curious. For instance, it is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue, can be severe, and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends. In addition, young children with ADHD may struggle when asked to sit still during circle time in preschool or story time at the library. They may try climb on things or run around the room instead of listening to the teacher or librarian. Some children with ADHD also have other problems such as opposition defiant disorder (ODD) or learning disabilities (LD).
Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active. These behaviors interfere with daily life and ones ability to function appropriate for ones age.
A child with ADHD might:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking
Treatment Options for ADHD
ADHD therapy treatment is a popular for children. The main goal of ADHD behavior therapy is to reduce disruptive behaviors and teach your child new skills, such as how to wait his turn and follow directions.
Children with ADHD have trouble following directions, staying focused, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), and in some cases, are overly active. In school, students with ADHD may have problems paying attention, finishing assigned work, or following classroom rules. At home, they may be fidgety, have trouble keeping their minds on any one thing for long, or blurt out inappropriate remarks at inappropriate times.
ADHD behavior therapy can include:
Behavior therapy. Teachers and parents can learn behavior-changing strategies, such as token reward systems and timeouts, for dealing with difficult situations.
Social skills training. This can help children learn appropriate social behaviors.
Parenting skills training. This can help parents develop ways to understand and guide their child’s behavior.
Psychotherapy. This allows older children with ADHD to talk about issues that bother them, explore negative behavior patterns and learn ways to deal with their symptoms.
Family therapy. Family therapy can help parents and siblings deal with the stress of living with someone
Medication for ADHD
There is no cure for ADHD, but there are several medications that can be used to treat it. The most common medications prescribed to treat ADHD are stimulants and non-stimulants. The stimulant medication is usually the first line of treatment as they generally have fewer side effects than non-stimulant medication. Children and adults with ADHD who do not respond well to medication or prefer not to use it, may benefit from psychotherapy or other behavioral therapies.
Stimulants have the most evidence supporting their effectiveness in treating the core symptoms of ADHD; hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. They are considered to be the best type of medicine for managing ADHD symptoms. Currently available stimulants include:
- Amphetamine (Adderall)
- Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
- Methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Quillivant XR, Ritalin)
- Methylphenidate extended release (Aptensio XR, Concerta, Cotempla XR-ODT, Metadate CD, Methylin ER, Quillichew ER, Ritalin LA)