Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common disorders among children, but may persist through adolescence and into adulthood. Research estimates that approximately 3-7percent of children have ADHD, and boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls. ADHD is mainly characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Though these behaviors occur frequently in children overall, a child diagnosed with ADHD exhibits them more severely, affecting their daily life and school performance. ADHD symptoms may last more than six months.
The three subtypes of ADHD are: hyperactive/impulsive - the child is always moving and lacks self-control, but is able to pay attention, inattentive – the child becomes easily bored and quickly tunes out, but is generally not hyper and actually flourishes in calm, quiet settings, and combined hyperactive, impulsive and inattentive (the most common form of ADHD) – the child displays symptoms of all ADHD behaviors.
There is no cure for ADHD, but symptoms may be controlled. Medication and psychotherapy are frequently combined to treat a patient’s ADHD. Stimulant medications are the most common types of prescribed medications for ADHD because of their ability to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity, and increase attention span.
The Mayo Clinic provides the following symptoms of ADHD, they include:
- Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities
- Often has trouble sustaining attention during tasks or play
- Seems not to listen even when spoken to directly
- Has difficulty following through on instructions and often fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other tasks
- Often has problems organizing tasks or activities
- Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework
- Frequently loses needed items, such as books, pencils, toys, or tools
- Can be easily distracted
- Often forgetful
- Often leaves his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations when remaining seated is expected
- Fidgets or squirms frequently
- Frequently has difficulty playing quietly
- Often runs or climbs excessively when it's not appropriate or, if an adolescent, might constantly feel restless
- Talks excessively
- Always seems on the go
- Blurts out the answers before questions have been completely asked
- Frequently has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others' conversations or games