Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a brain-based disorder that affects the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors. Children and teenagers diagnosed with the condition display a variety of symptoms, depending on the type of ADD. The three types of ADD that affect children include:
- Hyperactive/impulsive- Children and teenagers demonstrate both impulsive and hyperactive behavior, but are able to pay attention.
- Inattentive- Children and teenagers are not overly active, so they do not interrupt activities or the classroom. Known as attention deficit disorder (ADD) in the past, symptoms often go unnoticed.
- Combination (most common) – Children and teenagers with this form of ADD show symptoms of both of the above types. This form may make it difficult for school-aged children to perform well in school and behave at home.
What are ADD Causes?
It is important to note that ADD is not believed to be caused by bad parenting, lack of physical activity, life events, television or food choices. ADD is believed to be caused by chemical, structural and connectivity brain differences, but the exact cause is still unknown.
How Does an ADD Specialist Diagnose the Disorder?
ADD is a complex diagnosis that requires assistance from a professional ADD specialist, such as Dr. Skelton. There is no simple test to determine if a child or teenager has the disorder. An accurate diagnosis requires an assessment, detailed observation and information gathered from the child, parents, siblings, teachers and other caregivers.
A diagnosis may take time since many school-aged children affected by ADD behave well in new situations, especially one-on-one interactions.
What are Common ADD Treatments?
ADD treatment does not only involve non-stimulant or stimulant medications. There are a wide number of treatment options that can help children and teenagers improve their ability to focus, control their impulsive behavior and decrease their hyperactivity.
Evidence shows that at-home ADD treatment, such as eating a healthy diet, getting adequate exercise and getting a good night’s sleep, can play a positive role in management of the disorder when combined with professional help from an ADD specialist. A professional is able to assist a child and their family by determining if medications, psychotherapy or individual therapy is beneficial in the treatment process.
An ADD specialist and child psychiatrist, such as Dr. Katie Skelton, plays an important role in the treatment process since ADD responds best to a combination of strategies and treatments. Child psychiatrists are able to diagnose the disorder, prescribe medications, establish concrete behavioral goals, provide individual talk therapy and help families maintain a healthy rewards and consequences environment.
Medication management with or without therapy has been proven to be the best intervention for numerous children and adolescents. It is important to note that medication is often superior to therapy alone in many young patients. Click here to read an informative Q&A, ‘The Multimodal Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA).’