Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that causes problems paying attention (inattentive), being unable to sit still (hyperactive), and doing things without thinking first (impulsive). ADHD is more common in boys than girls. Girls are more likely to have trouble paying attention. Boys are more likely to be hyperactive.
ADHD used to be called attention deficit disorder (ADD).
The exact cause of this disorder is not known. ADHD seems to run in families. Children with this disorder may have physical changes in their brain. These changes may mean that some parts of the brain are more active or less active than in other people.
There is no evidence that ADHD is caused by sugar or things added to foods such as preservatives and coloring. Allergies are not a common factor in causing ADHD either.
There are 3 main types of ADHD in children and teens:
The symptoms of ADHD, especially problems sitting still, usually appear by age 2 or 3, and by first grade at the latest. About half of children with ADHD also have learning problems such as a reading disability. About half of ADHD children and teenagers have behavior problems. This may include breaking rules, talking back, and hitting other children.
Your child's healthcare provider or therapist will ask about your child's symptoms, medical and family history, and any medicines your child is taking. He will make sure that your child does not have a medical illness or drug or alcohol problem that could cause the symptoms. Your child may have tests or scans to help make a diagnosis.
Parents and teachers may be asked questions about ADHD symptoms. Your child may need to see a mental health professional for tests of attention and self-control.
The treatment of ADHD may involve:
Claims have been made that certain herbal and dietary products help control ADHD symptoms. No herb or dietary supplement has been proven to consistently or completely relieve the symptoms of ADHD. However, omega-3 fatty acids and certain vitamins and minerals may help to reduce some symptoms of ADHD. Supplements are not tested or standardized and may vary in strengths and effects. They may have side effects and are not always safe. Before your child takes any supplement, talk with your healthcare provider.
Exercising and learning ways to relax may help. Yoga and meditation may also be helpful. You may want to talk with your healthcare provider about using these methods along with medicines and therapy.
About half of children with ADHD seem to "grow out of it" by their early twenties. The other half have little or no change in symptoms as they grow into adulthood.
There are many ways to help manage ADHD:
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