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Could my child (or could I) have ADHD?
By Laura Lohmeier
HEALTH MATTERS APRIL/MAY 2016
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Could my child (or could I) have ADHD?

Have you noticed your child has trouble concentrating or maybe he or she can’t sit still for more than a few seconds? Has a teacher expressed concern that your child might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

According to the National Institutes on Mental Health (NIMH), ADHD is a common condition which can cause difficulty with focus and attentiveness, making it a challenge to do well in school or behave at home or in the community. ADHD usually begins in childhood and can continue through adolescence and adulthood.

Nature or nurture?

Though there is no clear evidence pinpointing exactly who gets it or how ADHD develops, researchers agree it’s probably a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The disorder tends to run in families, so genes do play a major role in predisposing a child to the condition.

Symptoms may include

The NIMH says that children with ADHD exhibit at least six of the following symptoms that generally start in the first 12 years of life:

  • Easily distracted, forgetful;
  • Switches between activities quickly;
  • Has trouble following instructions;
  • Excessive daydreaming;
  • Has trouble finishing tasks like homework or chores;
  • Loses toys, books and school supplies often;
  • Fidgets, squirms or runs a lot;
  • Talks nonstop and interrupts people;
  • Touches and plays with everything they see;
  • Is extremly impatient;
  • Blurts out inappropriate comments; and
  • Has trouble controlling emotions.

So, how will I know?

Your child’s doctor may make a diagnosis and will likely set up a referral to a mental health specialist. There is no single test to definitively diagnose ADHD, but there are several useful tools they can utilize.

What are the treatment options for ADHD?

Generally, most children are treated with medication or therapy or a combination of the two. Your doctor will be able to assess what would be most helpful in your child’s specific situation.

Adults can also have ADHD

ADHD in adults can make life challenging, often causing issues with organization, employment and relationships. Treatment for the disorder in adults can often bring tremendous relief, providing a new level of understanding about behavioral issues which may have been present since childhood. Adults who think they may have symptoms of ADHD should talk with their physician for advice.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health; Center for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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