ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which refers to a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms make it challenging to follow instructions, participate in a conversation, and start and complete tasks. They can interfere with relationships, school, or success at work.
ADD (attention-deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) were once used separately to describe the disorder with and without the hyperactivity component. Recently, the group of disorders was combined into attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and the terms are used interchangeably.
The most common symptoms of ADHD can be associated with inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity and include:
When untreated, severe ADHD can result in poor performance at school, alienation from friends and classmates, family problems, and low self-esteem.
In many cases, a primary care doctor or pediatrician first suggests the possibility of ADHD. However, diagnosis and adequate treatment are best provided by an experienced pediatrician, often in conjunction with mental health specialists or therapists.
The most effective treatment for ADHD takes into consideration all aspects of the disorder as well as risks associated with treatment. Treatment generally includes:
It’s also important that treatment and ongoing evaluation take into consideration any coexisting diagnoses and related problems, such as bed-wetting, which is common in children with ADHD. Furthermore, medication can affect sleep and appetite, so careful evaluation of side effects and dose adjustment are required for the best results.
Many parents delay medicating due to a belief that it may harm their child or prevent them from expressing themselves. On the contrary, medication that’s prescribed appropriately for ADHD often allows the child’s personality to come out in the way they intend. It can improve their focus, function, attention, communication, and ability to follow through. The vast majority of parents are pleased to find that medication, when used responsibly and carefully monitored, produces dramatic improvements in their child’s quality of life.
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