Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education Web site.
Information from Your Family Doctor
ADHD in Children
Am Fam Physician. 2009 Apr 15;79(8):online.
See related article on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
What is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
ADHD can cause three main behavioral problems: hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention. It's unclear what causes ADHD, but it may result from problems in the brain.
How do I know if my child has it?
Your child's doctor can tell if your child has ADHD by talking to you, teachers, and others who know how your child behaves. The doctor can also figure out when the symptoms usually occur and how bad they are.
Inattention can cause these symptoms:
Problems following instructions
Problems paying attention, being distracted easily
Problems planning ahead
Problems keeping track of things
Appearing not to listen to the teacher or caregiver
Hyperactivity or impulsivity can cause these symptoms:
Running or climbing at wrong times or places
Talking too much
Inability to play quietly
Blurting out answers at school
Problems waiting his or her turn
How is it treated?
Many children with ADHD are prescribed a stimulant medicine. Your child's doctor may also prescribe other medicines. Behavioral interventions, such as rewarding good behavior, are also effective.
Changes in your child's classroom may help improve ADHD symptoms. For example, moving your child closer to the front of the room can limit distractions, and using charts and checklists can help him or her stay on task.
Where can I get more information?
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Web site: http://www.aacap.org
American Academy of Family Physicians
Web site: http://familydoctor.org
American Academy of Pediatrics
Web site: http://www.aap.org/parents.html
Children and Adults with ADHD
Web site: http://www.chadd.org
Mental Health America
Web site: http://www.nmha.org/go/get-info/
This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.
Copyright © 2009 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions