Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
in Children (ADHD in Children or
Childhood ADHD)

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Childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD in children) facts

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental-health condition. Childhood ADHD symptoms include
  • Though there is no particular cause of ADHD, there are many social, biological, environmental factors that may raise one's risk of developing or being diagnosed with the disorder.
  • There are three kinds of ADHD: predominately inattentive, predominately hyperactive/impulsive, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive).
  • While medications are commonly used in the treatment of ADHD, behavioral therapy is important in improving the child's ability to function as well.
  • The most common medications used to treat ADHD are the stimulant medications.
  • About 85% of children with ADHD are at risk for having the disorder in adulthood.
  • Much of the latest research on ADHD in children focuses on how exposure to environmental toxins may increase the risk of developing this condition.

ADHD Pictures Slideshow: Symptoms in Children

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD, also often called ADD, refers to a mental-health condition called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People with ADHD have problems with impulse control, excessive activity, and/or concentration. Statistics show that up to 7% of children and teens are thought to suffer from this disorder at any time, with up to 11% of children being given the diagnosis at some point during their childhood. Physicians diagnose boys with childhood ADHD at a rate of more than twice that of girls. That is thought to be at least partly due to the diagnosis in girls being missed because of gender differences in ADHD symptoms.

What are risk factors and causes of ADHD in children?

Although there is no single cause for ADHD, there are a number of biological, environmental, and social factors that seem to increase the risk of a person developing the disorder. Brain imaging studies show that the brains of people with ADHD tend to be smaller, the connections between certain parts of the brain are fewer, and the regulation of the neurochemical dopamine tends to be less than in people who have the disorder.

Risk factors for ADHD that can occur in the womb include maternal stress, as well as smoking during pregnancy and low weight at birth. Being male and having a family history of ADHD increase the likelihood that an individual is diagnosed with ADHD. Socially, low family income and low paternal education are risk factors for developing ADHD. Behavioral expectations based on the culture of an area, from a school district, town, state, or country can influence how often this diagnosis is made.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/22/2015

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Many of the symptoms of ADHD are also symptoms seen during normal childhood.

ADHD Symptoms

While inattention and hyperactivity are the cardinal symptoms of ADHD, a number of other symptoms are contained within the diagnostic criteria for this condition and are typical for those with ADHD.

Symptoms related to inattention include trouble paying attention in school or work, the appearance of not listening, failing to complete assigned tasks, avoidance of activities that require sustained focus, losing things, and being easily distracted. Symptoms related to hyperactivity include restlessness, fidgeting, interrupting, frequent talking, intrusiveness, trouble paying attention, and trying to do multiple things at once.