Chronic difficulties in focusing and impulsivity is a common concern for our patients. Children and adolescents who exhibit symptoms of ADHD are much more likely to earn poor grades, struggle in friendships, be involved in criminal activity, and drop out of school. Adults, both women and men, struggle with difficulties in friendships, work performance, and romantic relationships. Early intervention and detection of this treatable condition has been shown to substantially reduce the likelihood of these common bi-products of undiagnosed/untreated ADHD.
If you have a child or teen who struggles to focus or remain still, and if the behavior affects his or her daily life and development, your child may be suffering from ADHD. The condition often causes long-lasting negative effects, which is why we at NeuroHealth encourage parent education about ADHD treatment and diagnosis.
Gaining a better understanding of your child’s needs is the first step towards knowing how to help.
What Is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a neurological condition that often manifests in childhood and carries on into adulthood. The three main indicators of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A child with ADHD will often struggle to pay attention, remain focused, follow directions, sit still, or wait patiently.
While many children exhibit some degree of impatience or inattention, a child who consistently exhibits all or most of these behaviors likely suffers from ADHD. If left untreated, ADHD often prevents children from developing organization, social, and time-management skills, leading to further issues in adulthood.
How Do Medical Professionals Diagnose ADHD?
The medical community isn’t currently aware of one single cause of ADHD, which makes the condition somewhat difficult to diagnose. Sometimes other issues, such as anxiety, thyroid problems, or a negative response to a traumatic life event, can mimic the symptoms of ADHD.
Generally, our physicians start by getting as much information as they can about your child’s behavior in various environments. Most children with ADHD show behavioral consistency in all environments, so if your child is only unfocused or hyper at school, but calm and attentive at home, he or she may not have ADHD.
Once the physician gathers the data, he or she will compare the behavior to standard behavior for a child of the same age. The child will then receive a full physical exam, particularly to see if a vision or hearing problem may be causing the ADHD-like symptoms. In some cases, your child’s brainwaves may be tested by an FDA-approved scan, as certain brainwave differences can indicate ADHD.
How Is ADHD Treated?
Once we determine that your child does have ADHD and not another condition, we can start working with you and your child on an ADHD treatment plan. Though ADHD isn’t curable, several methods can successfully treat the symptoms and allow your child to overcome any negative developmental impact caused by ADHD.
Our medical professionals may recommend medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Stimulant and non-stimulant medications are both used to treat ADHD, and your doctor may suggest a few different medications to find one that helps your child.
Behavior therapy can also help, as it teaches children how to successfully manage their emotions on their own. They can learn how to properly channel their energy and learn positive social and occupational skills. Often, children with ADHD feel restless and frustrated, and behavior therapy or counseling can help them understand and overcome these negative feelings.