Approximately 9.5 percent of American children are afflicted with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although the term ADD (attention-deficit disorder) is still occasionally used, it is now considered by the medical community to be too broad.
While all children may at some point have trouble sitting still or paying attention, those with ADHD have a chemical imbalance within the brain that presents as a persistent and debilitating pattern of behavior. These behaviors can include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The diagnosis is made based on the child's age and developmental level and his or her symptoms. The symptoms must be present in a variety of settings, and must interfere with daily life.
Those with inattentive ADHD are often easily distracted, forgetful and tend to ignore those who are speaking directly to them. They typically do not follow instructions, cannot stay organized and misplace items easily. This is the subtype that still occasionally receives the "ADD" label. Hyperactive or impulsive children are excessively "busy" - they talk constantly, squirm or get up from their seats, interrupt others and cannot focus on quiet play or activities such as silent reading. Some children display symptoms of all three subtypes.
Fortunately, our pediatricians are trained to be able to detect these common symptoms and warning signs of ADHD in children. By evaluating other factors such as possible learning disabilities or developmental disorders that could also cause similar symptoms we will be able to determine if your child is truly dealing with ADHD.
While some children with ADHD respond well to medication, it is not considered a "cure" for the condition. When it is used in tandem with a healthy diet and clear and consistent bedtime and exercise routines, it seems to be more effective. Monitoring your child's ADHD treatment closely with your pediatrician will help determine the best course of action.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD by a pediatrician, it’s important to know that their behavioral symptoms can be managed with medications. While there is no cure, we can help create an individualized treatment plan that will lessen their symptoms and improve their home and school life.