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What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common disorder of childhood and affects up to 5% of the population. ADHD is most often diagnosed in elementary or middle school. Children with ADHD struggle with focusing, get easily distracted, have poor impulse control, and are restless/fidgety. ADHD not only impacts a child’s academic functioning, but also greatly affects peer relationships. Children with ADHD often have impairments in social skills, including challenges with interrupting. Over time, this can negatively affect a child’s self-esteem. 

Forms of ADHD

There are three different subtypes of ADHD including inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type and the combined type. When kids are the hyperactive and impulsive type of ADHD, teachers notice because they disrupt peers in class, making it harder for others to learn. These children feel the need to move constantly, and struggle with impulse control. However, it is common for kids with the inattentive type of ADHD to be missed for evaluation in elementary or middle school because they don’t exhibit impulsive and hyperactive behavior. Instead, they are daydreaming and forgetful, constantly losing papers or homework, and requiring prompting to finish assignments. Kids with inattentive type ADHD do not cause behavioral issues in school, so they are identified later. The combined type of ADHD is the most common; children who have it present symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive types.

ADHD treatment

ADHD brain development continues until mid-20s, which involves further development of executive functioning, impulse control, inattention and hyperactivity. For that reason, some children and adolescents need treatment with medications to help treat ADHD symptoms, which are extremely helpful.  

If your child/adolescent is struggling with inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity, seek professional assistance from a child psychiatrist and/or child psychologist. 

View Dr. Michele Nelson’s profile to learn more.

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