Usually, children have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (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. Below are a few common signs and symptoms of ADHD:
- Daydream a lot
- Forget or lose things a lot
- Squirm or fidget
- Talk too much
- Lack of focus
- Make careless mistakes
- Take unnecessary risks
- Have a hard time resisting temptation
- Have trouble taking turns due to self-focused behavior
- Have difficulty getting along with others
- Interrupt games or other activities where they are not part of
- Cannot keep their emotions under check and have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times
ADHD children may show interest in lot of things but may have problems finishing them. They move on to the next thing that catches their interest before finishing the previous one.
Usually, children with ADHD are less organized. They may have trouble keeping a track of tasks and activities. This can cause problems at school because they can find it hard to prioritize homework, school projects, and other assignments.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental and neurodevelopment disorders affecting children. It is usually first diagnosed during childhood and often lasts up to adulthood. A child with ADHD has differences in brain development and brain activity that affect attention, the ability to sit still, and self-control. ADHD can affect a child at school, at home, and in friendships.
What are the causes of ADHD?
The causes and risk factors for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. In addition to genetics, other possible causes and risk factors include the following:
How can ADHD be treated?
What works best can depend on the child and family. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups, and making changes, if needed, along the way.
In most cases, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. For children aged four to five years with ADHD, behavior therapy, particularly training for parents, is recommended as the first line of treatment before medication is tried.
Medications can help children manage their ADHD symptoms in their everyday life and can help them control their behaviors that cause difficulties with family and friends, and at school. These medications are divided into two types:
- Stimulants: They are the best known and most widely used as ADHD medications. Between 70% and 80% of children with ADHD have fewer ADHD symptoms when they take these fast-acting medications. Stimulants, which contain various forms of methylphenidate and amphetamine, have a calming effect on hyperactive children with ADHD. They are believed to increase brain levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with motivation, attention, and movement.
- Nonstimulants: These were approved for the treatment of children with ADHD in 2003. They do not work as quickly as stimulants, but their effect can last up to 24 hours. Strattera (atomoxetine), Intuniv (guanfacine), and Kapvay (clonidine) are the nonstimulants that provide a useful alternative for children who do not tolerate stimulants well.
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