Grow Up Strong -- Identify and Treat ADHD Early
Being inattentive, excessively energetic, or overly impulsive isn't uncommon behavior for many kids. Nearly all kids act this way from time to time. However, when these behaviors persist and begin to have a negative impact on several different aspects of a child's life, it may indicate the presence of a neurobehavioral condition: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The two main categories and the symptoms are:
- Inattention: The child doesn't seem to listen, is easily distracted, has trouble following instructions, avoids tasks requiring focus, is disorganized, and makes careless mistakes.
- Hyperactivity/Impulsivity: The child interrupts others, talks excessively, fidgets or can't sit still, has trouble doing activities quietly, very impatient, has difficulty waiting in line or taking turns, and moves around or climbs excessively.
If your child shows symptoms of ADHD, talk with his or her pediatrician about the best way to get an accurate diagnosis. No single test for ADHD exists; a variety of exams are used to differentiate ADHD from learning disabilities and mood disorders.
Identifying and treating childhood ADHD early is vital to a child's long-term academic, professional, and personal success. Early identification and proper treatment dramatically reduce the behavioral and psychological problems experienced by individuals with ADHD. When ADHD is properly managed, children may learn to use their excess energy to their advantage while also learning how to minimize other less productive tendencies of the disorder.
Failing to recognize and treat ADHD in childhood may impact a child's overall health and psychological well-being into adulthood. Individuals with untreated ADHD have an elevated lifetime risk of school failure, depression, behavioral disorders, work and relationship problems, and substance abuse.