(ADHD) in Children
Video: Dr. Miranda speaks on ABC News about diagnosing ADHD
What is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Children with ADHD often have problems with attention span, hyperactivity,
and impulsive behavior. It is often called by an older name, attention
deficit disorder (ADD).
The disorder begins in the preschool years
and may either continue or fade away during the teenage years. About
one-third of children with ADHD also have learning problems such as
a reading disability.
About half of ADHD children and teenagers have
behavior problems, which may include breaking rules, talking back, and
hitting other children.
ADHD is 7 times more common in boys than girls.
Girls are more likely to have troubles with attention and less likely
to have hyperactivity.
How does it occur?
In about 70% of cases, ADHD is inherited. It runs in families, especially
through the males in the family line. Research continues in an effort
to find out why it occurs in those without a family history. Some things
that contribute to the risk for ADHD include:
Substance abuse during pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy
Various illnesses during pregnancy
A long and difficult labor
The baby being short of oxygen during birth
The umbilical cord being wrapped around
the baby's neck
Much research has looked at whether ADHD is
caused by sugar or things added to foods such as preservatives and coloring.
No sound evidence has connected these with ADHD. Allergies are also
not a factor in causing ADHD.
People with ADHD have several small differences in their brain structure.
These differences are in the front part of the brain (an area involved
in self-control) and in some parts in the center of the brain. What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of ADHD, especially hyperactivity, usually appear by age
2 or 3 and by first grade at the latest. The main symptoms are:
Trouble focusing and short attention
span. Children and teens with ADHD change
activities very often, frequently not finishing what they have started.
They are easily distracted by noises or things they see around them.
Poor impulse control,
or impulsivity (having a hard time with patience and waiting). Children
with this symptom often react quickly without thinking of the outcome.
They are impatient and tend to interrupt others in conversations and
begin tasks without enough planning.
(excessive movement). Hyperactive children are nearly always on the
go. They seldom sit still, and when sitting, they usually fidget or
play with things
Common related symptoms are:
Trouble organizing tasks and projects
Difficulty slowing down at night to get
Social problems from being aggressive, loud,
or impatient in groups and conversations