An Overview on ADHD (ADD)
Hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention are the hallmark symptoms of ADHD. Certain children affected by the disorder may only have hyperactivity and impulsivity, or inattention, while other children have combined ADHD.
ADD symptoms can appear as early as 3-6 years of age and can continue into teenage years, or even adult years. Symptoms of the disorder may change as the individual ages. In young children, the dominant symptom is typically hyperactivity/impulsivity. When the child reaches elementary school, inattention may become more noticeable. During the adolescent years, hyperactivity usually diminishes, but impulsivity and inattention remain.
Healthcare professionals and scientists are not 100% sure what causes the disorder. It is reported ADHD is more common in males than females, and females are more likely to display inattention symptoms.
ADHD Medications and Other Treatment Options
There is no cure for ADD at this time, but numerous treatments are available to help reduce symptoms and improve a child’s functioning and learning capabilities. The most common treatments include ADHD medication, psychotherapy, individual therapy, education and at-home treatments (healthy diet, adequate exercise and rest), or a combination of treatments.
With a combination of therapy, ADHD medication and simple steps, parents and other adults can help children affected by the disorder stay organized and follow directions. Adults are encouraged to help a child keep a daily routine, organize everyday and school items, be clear and consistent about rules and provide praise and/or rewards when rules are consistently followed.
Common ADD Medicine for Children
In many children and adolescents, ADD medicine reduces hyperactivity and impulsivity so the child can focus, work and learn.
The most common type of ADD medicine is a stimulant. It is difficult for some adults to understand how a stimulant can help a hyperactive and impulsive child, but this form of medication works because it increases the brain’s dopamine and norepinephrine, chemicals that play a critical role in attention and thinking.
Non-stimulants are another form of ADHD medication. These medicines usually take longer to alleviate the unwanted symptoms, but are a good treatment option for children who experience side effects of stimulant ADD medicine or for children who do not experience relief from stimulants.
Click here to read an informative Q&A, ‘The Multimodal Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA).’