ADHD is a behavior disorder involving an inability to focus on tasks. Hyperactive behavior is part of ADHD.
Between 5% and 10% of children have ADHD, and in younger children, more boys than girls have it. Some children are able to control problem behaviors as they grow older, and others may have persistent symptoms of ADHD into adult-hood. Certain children become troubled teenagers and adults with problems such as failure in school, antisocial behavior, and sometimes even criminal behavior.
No ways to prevent ADHD are known.
The cause is unknown. It may occur in more than one child in a family.
Environmental factors and hereditary factors may play a role.
Problem behaviors are the symptoms, usually in a child younger than 7.
Parents, teachers, and doctors may see the behaviors, which include inability to listen, follow instructions, wait turn in games and lines, or pay attention in school or at play; becoming easily distracted; losing things; shifting from one task to another; answering before a question is finished; interrupting or intruding; doing dangerous things without thinking; squirming or inability to stay seated; fidgeting with hands and feet; and talking constantly.
No specific test exists for ADHD. Observations of doctors, parents, teachers, and others are key. Depression and anxiety must be ruled out.
The health care provider will ask about the family history, do a physical examination (including hearing and eye tests), and check for learning disabilities and development level. For an ADHD diagnosis, the child must have six or more of eight specific symptoms for at least 6 months, and these must interfere with daily functions.
Adults with ADHD often have failed relationships, problems at work, and sometimes alcohol and drug abuse. Many such adults may have been misdiagnosed with anxiety or manic depressive disorders.
The health care provider may also suggest counseling for child and parents. Support for parents is essential.
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