ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition in which focusing is particularly difficult. According to the National Institutes of Health, ADHD is one of the most common brain disorders among kids.  Even though it often affects children, but the symptoms can persist into adolescence and adulthood. This, in turn, can negatively impact academic performance. According to the National Institutes of Health, in youths with ADHD, the brain can actually be delayed roughly three years in development.

ADHD Symptoms

The hallmark symptom of ADHD is difficulty concentrating or becoming bored easily. Over-activity and difficulty controlling behavior are other common symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. Excessive daydreaming is also associated with the condition. Contrary to popular belief, quiet children can be diagnosed with ADHD, as well. Even so, experts warn that normal problems with distraction can easily be mistaken for ADHD. Patients should exhibit symptoms for over six months to be diagnosed. Children with ADHD may have difficulty listening/following directions or processing information. They may also appear fidgety, overly talkative, impatient or impulsive. Even daydreaming can be a sign of ADHD, especially if it is paired with children who are easily confused or have trouble listening or taking instructions. In most cases, these symptoms become apparent between the ages of three and six. However, experts caution that normal problems with distraction can be mistaken for ADHD symptoms. To be diagnosed, a patient should show symptoms for more than six months.

Treatment

Doctors have yet to find a cure for ADHD. However, treatments can help manage the symptoms. These treatments usually include medication and/or therapy. Stimulants are often used to treat the disorder, as they activate brain circuits to help patients pay attention. Each child with ADHD will likely need an individualized approach. Some children might respond better to therapy or medication, and it might take time to find the right approach. Medications can have adverse side effects, experts caution. This can include loss of appetite and problems sleeping. Experts emphasize that the medications are not a cure, but rather a means to control symptoms. Medications aside, psychotherapy is another treatment approach that works for some.  

Why some develop ADHD

An exact cause of ADHD remains unclear at this point. However, certain factors may be at play. Genetics/family history may play a role. Environment, brain injuries and food additives have also been associated with ADHD, according to the National Institutes of Health. In some cases, the condition can coexist with other medical problems including learning disabilities, anxiety, depression and more. Parents and caregivers can help support children with ADHD by adhering to a routine, organizing everyday items, being clear and consistent, and praising children for positive behavior, according to the NIH.  

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