Attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood behavioral disorder that can continue its progression into adulthood. Symptoms in children include difficulty staying focused, over-activity and impulsivity. Children with ADHD often find it hard to complete tasks and perform up to their peers and often have problems at school.

There are three subtypes of ADHD which include:

  • Combined ADHD: involves symptoms of both lack of attentiveness and over-activity/impulsivity
  • Inattentive ADHD: previously known as ADD, involves symptoms of lack of attentiveness and concentration
  • Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD: involves symptoms of over-activity paired with impulsivity, without problems with attentiveness

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but some of the likely causes include mutations in certain genes, exposure to toxins and brain injuries.

A diagnosis can often be made by a specialist based on various psychological tests. After obtaining a detailed history, a specialist will analyze the patient’s behavioral traits in various circumstances, look for specific symptoms and rule out underlying conditions that may exhibit similar symptoms in order to appropriately diagnose ADHD.

ADHD cannot be cured, but can be effectively managed. Treatment is mainly focused on relieving symptoms and improving function. It includes proper training, psychological therapy methods such as behavioral therapy, medication or a combination of treatments.

Medication treatment includes the use of stimulants, non-stimulants or antidepressants. Medications are safe when used under medical supervision, but can cause side effects in some children. It is often combined with behavioral therapy, where your child is taught how to control impulsive behavior. Alternate therapies, such as special tutoring and occupational therapy, are included into the treatment plan to address specific symptoms and needs of your child.

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