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Learn about Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Updated: Jun 1, 2022 Print
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Children with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors, or be hyperactive.

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. ADHD may be related to genetic, environmental or central nervous system problems at critical stages of growth and development.

Signs and Symptoms
A child with Attention-Deficit Disorder might:
not pay attention to details in study or work

have trouble sustaining attention

be unable to finish homework, daily chores or work as instructed (not due to failure to understand)

have difficulty completing organized tasks

frequently lose or misplace things (such as toys, textbooks, pencils or books).

A child with Hyperactivity Disorder might:
constantly squirm or fidget

talk too much

have difficulty sitting still, playing quietly, or relaxing

move around constantly, often running or climbing inappropriately

interrupt or disturb others a lot

Children with ADHD generally have normal intelligence, accompanied by cognitive impairment and varying degrees of learning difficulties. Therefore, children may have the following executive dysfunction symptoms:

Poor ability to resist distraction: they tend to be disturbed when the surrounding environment changes.

Poor ability to delay gratification: they always have a hard time resisting temptation.

Poor organizing and planning ability: their rooms or schoolbags are often in a mess and they often do things without rules.

Poor time perception: they are unable to sense the passing of time.

Poor cognitive flexibility: when the rules change, they seem to unable to change their strategies in time to adapt to the new rules

Pay attention to the comorbidities of ADHD
About 40 percent of children with ADHD may suffer from other psychological and behavioral disorders. Therefore, children diagnosed with ADHD should be screened for comorbidities, including tic disorders, autism, and mood and sleep disorders.

Comorbidities and ADHD may affect and aggravate each other. Therefore, it’s better to treat them together. Children with ADHD may have anxiety because of their poor academic performance, which aggravates the symptoms of tic disorders. After dealing with ADHD, it may not be necessary to seek special treatment for tic disorders.

Whether it is necessary to deal with comorbidities should be judged by the doctor according to the situation of the child. Parents should not administer medicines on their own.

Treatments for ADHD
Medication is the most recommended treatment at present, but healthcare providers need to observe and adjust the dose of medication to find the right balance between benefits and side effects.

Many parents flatly refuse medication without fully understanding the benefits of medication and the situation of their children. This is not a wise move. Whether a child needs medication should be decided on the basis of scientific diagnosis and evaluation.

Physical therapy, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, biofeedback and direct current therapy, can also play a certain role in treating ADHD. The treatment needs to be completed under the guidance of a professional therapist and should be given over an adequate duration and frequency of sessions.

Parenting is also very important. It is suggested that parents of affected children should receive scientific parenting guidance whenever possible.

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