Am Fam Physician. 2009;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: https://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/