According to the National institute of mental health the definition for ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).
There have been a number of studies on ADHD and the results from several international studies of twins show that ADHD often runs in families. Researchers are looking at several genes that may make people more likely to develop the disorder. Knowing the genes involved may one day help researchers prevent the disorder before symptoms develop. Children with ADHD who carry a particular version of a certain gene have thinner brain tissue in the areas of the brain associated with attention. However, this research also showed that the difference was not permanent, and as children with this gene grew up, the brain developed to a normal level of thickness. The result: their ADHD symptoms also improved.
ADHD affects about 4.1% American adults age 18 years and older in a given year. The disorder affects 9.0% of American children age 13 to 18 years. Boys are four times at risk than girls. Studies show that the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD is increasing, but it is unclear why.
ADHD has three subtypes:
Only a doctor or other trained health care professional can diagnose ADHD. Because no single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD, a licensed health professional needs to gather information about the child, and his or her behavior and environment. A family may want to first talk with the child’s pediatrician. Some pediatricians can assess the child themselves, but many will refer the family to a mental health specialist with experience in childhood mental disorders such as ADHD. The pediatrician or mental health specialist will first try to rule out other possibilities for the symptoms. For example, certain situations, events, or health conditions may cause temporary behaviors in a child that seem like ADHD.
Between them, the referring pediatrician and specialist will determine if a child:
A specialist will also check school and medical records for clues, to see if the child’s home or school settings appear unusually stressful or disrupted, and gather information from the child’s parents and teachers. Coaches, babysitters, and other adults who know the child well also may be consulted.
If you think your child has ADHD, or a teacher raises concerns, you may be able to request that the school conduct an evaluation to determine whether he or she qualifies for special education services. Start by speaking with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or the school’s student support team, to begin an evaluation.
Mental health counselors can help treat your child, guide you how to deal with this disorder, and inform you of your child’s progress. Counselor Jennifer Nahrebeski works with children, adults and families, using a soothing and encouraging approach. Her sessions are always private and confidential. Your child’s wellbeing is priceless, so why not start on his/her path to recovery by calling Jennifer at (716) 432-3656