ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common condition found in approximately 11% of children and adolescents. In the past, ADHD was referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The condition causes troublesome symptoms in school-aged children, including increased activity and motion, as well as difficulties with attention and impulsivity. School-aged children suffering from ADHD (ADD) can become a behavioral issue in both the home and school if left untreated. Dr. Katie Skelton, child and adolescent psychiatrist proudly serving the greater New Braunfels, San Marcos and Seguin, Texas communities, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of this common condition found in kids and teens.
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is a condition that makes it more difficult for millions of school-aged children to concentrate on tasks, focus on school work, pay attention to adults and control impulsive behaviors.
There are three types of ADHD, including:
- Hyperactive/impulsive- Children and adolescents demonstrate both impulsive and hyperactive behavior, but are able to pay attention.
- Inattentive- Children and adolescents 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 adolescents with this form of ADHD (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.
The exact cause of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is unknown. Many healthcare professionals believe there is a combination of causes, including environmental factors and genetics.
What are ADHD (ADD) Symptoms?
Symptoms of ADHD (ADD) vary depending on the type affecting the child. Symptoms of hyperactive/impulsive ADHD include trouble remaining quiet, extreme impatience, excessive movement and excessive talking or blurting out answers. Symptoms of inattentive ADHD include being easily distracted, making careless mistakes, having difficulty following instructions, having difficulty with organization and trouble listening when spoken to directly. Children and adolescents with combination ADHD (ADD) display a variety of symptoms associated with both hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive presentations.
How is ADHD (ADD) Diagnosed?
At this time, there is no definitive test for ADHD (ADD). A diagnosis is typically reached by gathering information from parents, other caregivers, the school and the child. A child and adolescent psychiatrist will then use that information, and perform a psychiatric examination, to diagnose the condition. For a diagnosis of ADHD, a school-aged child is typically expected to have shown more than six specific symptoms in at least two settings for more than six months.
What are ADHD (ADD) Treatment Options?
With proper ADHD treatment, children and adolescents can improve their ability to pay attention and control unwanted behaviors at school and in the home. Common treatment options for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder include stimulant and non-stimulant medications, as well as psychotherapy and individual therapy.
Medications for ADHD (ADD) are well established and highly effective at managing the condition. Individual therapy and psychotherapy are often used so children and teenagers can gain a better self-image, as well as focus on structure and positive reinforcements for good behavior.
If you believe your school-aged child is suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or for more resources on ADHD (ADD), please contact the New Braunfels, San Marcos and Seguin, Texas practice of Dr. Katie Skelton.