Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity, including:
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a subtype of ADHD that lacks the hyperactivity symptoms. Without prompt and proper treatment, children with ADHD may have problems with social interactions, difficulty making and keeping friends, and school performance problems. They also may suffer from depression and anxiety.
There’s no specific, single test to diagnose ADHD. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics has established a set of guidelines to aid in the diagnosis of ADHD. For an ADHD, a child must exhibit symptoms of impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity in multiple settings and to a degree that the symptoms interfere with activities of normal, everyday living.
Children under 17 years of age must exhibit six distinct symptoms, while those 17 and older must have evidence of five or more symptoms. In all age groups, symptoms must have persisted for six months or more. The diagnostic process uses a significant amount of information gathered through observation, questionnaires, and other techniques, as well as a physical exam and neurological testing to rule out other potential issues that may cause similar symptoms.
ADHD can begin very early in childhood, but in children under 4 years of age, it can be very difficult to diagnose. It also can be challenging to diagnose in teenagers. Often, the symptoms of ADHD are mistaken for other issues, including “just acting out.” It’s important to have ADHD diagnosed as soon as possible to prevent children from developing issues like depression, anxiety, or feelings of failure that can have an impact on their behavior and their self-esteem and self-worth.
Most children diagnosed with ADHD benefit from a combination of medication and behavioral therapy to help them learn new, positive ways of acting, while also addressing issues of depression or poor self-esteem. Social skills classes may benefit some children, and it’s also important to involve the family in treatment so they’re able to provide emotional support. Drs. Dela Cruz customize every treatment plan for the needs of the individual child for the best outcome.