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FC Home Mental Illness in Children Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD) | Print |

The information below is reprinted from the website WebMD.   If you wish to learn more about  Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity  Disorder  (ADHD) in youth, please visit their website at www.webmd.com.    If you have concerns about your child's behavioral health and wish to talk with someone, or  have your child undergo an evaluation, please contact the Fulton County Oak  Hill Child, Adolescent & Family Center at (404) 612-4111.  

The facility provides behavioral health services to youth between the ages of 0 to 21 years old, and is operated by the Fulton County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities.      Below is information on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  from the WebMD website:

ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER:   WHAT IS ADHD?

According to WebMD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD).   ADHD is a common condition that affects children and adolescents, while ADD is more common in adults.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children  have ADHD.   Some experts, though, says ADHD may occur in 8% to 10% of school age children.   Experts  also question whether kids really outgrow ADHD.   What that means is that this disorder may be more common in adults than previously thought.  

Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating.   They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks.   They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act.   These behaviors are generally common in children, but they occur more often, and are more severe, in a child with ADHD.   The behaviors that are common with ADHD interfere with a child's ability to function at school and at home.  

WHAT ARE ADHD SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN?

Symptoms of ADHD in children are generally grouped into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.   Below are the descriptions:

Inattention - a child with ADHD exhibits the following:

  • Is easily distracted
  • Does not follow directions or finish tasks
  • Does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking
  • Does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • Is forgetful about daily activities
  • Has problems organizing daily tasks
  • Avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
  • Often loses things, including personal items
  • Has a tendency to daydream

Hyperactivity - a child with ADHD exhibits the following:

  • Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
  • Does not stay seated as expected
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (in teens and adults, this is more commonly described as a sense of restlessness)
  • Talks excessively

Impulsivity - a child with ADHD exhibits the following:

  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • Blurts out answers before the questions has been completed
  • Often interrupts others

Girl playing

WHAT CAUSES ADHD?

According to WebMD, the exact cause of ADHD is not known, although researchers continue to study the brain for clues.   They suspect that there are several factors that may contribute to the condition, including the following:  

  • Heredity - ¬†the fact that ADHD tends to run in families suggests that children may inherit a tendency to develop ADHD from their parents
  • Chemical Imbalance - experts believe an imbalance of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that transmit nerve impulses may be a factor in the development of ADHD symptoms
  • Brain changes- areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ¬†ADHD than in children without ADHD
  • Head injury - there are reports of children with head injuries, particularly with concussions, developing behavioral ¬†problems that may mimic ADHD
  • Poor nutrition, infections, and substance abuse (including cigarette & alcohol use) during pregnancy - these may be contributing factors because they can affect the development of the baby's brain
  • Exposure to toxins (such as lead or PCBs) in early childhood - these also can affect the brain development
  • Injury to the brain or a brain disorder - this may play a part in the development of ADHD

HOW COMMON IS ADHD?

According to WebMD, ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children and is more common in boys than in girls.   It  most often is discovered during the early school years, when a child begins to have problems paying attention.   ADHD can continue into the teen years and on into adulthood.

Kids in schoolWHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR ADHD?

According to WebMD, ADHD cannot be cured.   But many of the symptoms that interfere with functioning and cause distress can be controlled.   Treatment for ADHD often includes a combination of medication and various psychosocial therapies.

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH ADHD?

It is very important for children and adults with symptoms of ADHD to seek professional care.   Without treatment, ADHD can interfere with a child's performance in school as well as the child's ability to make and keep friends.   This can have a negative impact on the child's self-esteem.   In addition, children with ADHD are at risk for developing conduct disorder, depression, or an anxiety disorder.   They also are more likely to have a learning disorder.   Teens with ADHD are at greater risk for car accidents, early pregnancy, and tobacco and alcohol use.  

According to WebMD, when treated, most people with ADHD - between 70% and 80% - experience at least some relief of symptoms.   Many of the symptoms of ADHD diminish by early adulthood.   However, up to 50% of people with ADHD as children continue to have problems as adults.

IS THERE A WAY TO PREVENT ADHD?Father and son

According to WebMD, ADHD cannot be prevented or cured.   However, early identification and diagnosis, as well as a carefully designed treatment and education plan, can help a child with ADHD to adjust to the disorder.   Many people with ADHD learn to  focus their attention, develop personal strengths, minimize disruptive behavior, and become productive and successful.

GET HELP

If you wish to talk with someone about ADHD, or seek help for a child, please contact the Fulton County Oak Hill Child, Adolescent & Family Center at (404) 612-4111.

     

     

 
 

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