Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Sarah Orr, D.O.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be identified in children based on behavioral tendencies, such as inattention in school, speaking out of turn, excessive energy, inability to focus, etc. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine, ADHD affects an estimated four to 12 percent of children.
ADHD comes in different forms, and symptoms vary from child to child. At this time, there is no known way to prevent ADHD, but if your child is affected by ADHD, you should talk with your child's pediatrician to create an individualized plan to manage the symptoms.
ADHD Treatment Options
There are a variety of treatment options when it comes to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Treatments vary according to age and the severity of a child's case of ADHD. If you have questions about your child's level of ADHD severity, contact your pediatrician for more information.
Approaches for treating ADHD include the following:
Sometimes addressing ADHD symptoms can be as simple as changing a daily habit.
- Eating a healthy diet, exercising consistently and following a regular sleep schedule can help a child manage ADHD symptoms such as an inability to maintain focus or sit still.
- Limiting screen time for your child may also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
- Family mealtime may help a child with ADHD if the mealtime is a sit-down event with clearly established guidelines, such as:
- Turning off the television.
- Focusing on conversation that includes all family members (limiting adult-only conversation).
- Avoiding using the time to punish your child for behaviors that aren't related to mealtime.
Classes focused on helping parents work with children who have ADHD can be extremely beneficial to the child, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. When parents know how to ensure that family life will help teach positive behavioral skills, the child may be able to perform better in high-stress social situations like school or group sports.
These classes often encourage parents of children who have ADHD to support one another, helping them to cope with their children's symptoms.
Behavior therapy can assist a child in learning to control certain behavioral tendencies associated with ADHD. In addition, the social skills taught in behavior therapy can help a child adapt to challenging social situations.
There are several types of medication that can help alleviate a child's ADHD symptoms, especially when used in combination with other methods of addressing symptoms and behaviors.
According to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), many children rely on psychostimulant medications that allow them to perform better in social situations like school. Medications like Adderall and Ritalin stimulate the brain by stabilizing its chemicals. This can help reduce symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity. These medications are a common option for many people affected by ADHD and have been studied for many years.
It is vital to have an open discussion with your child's pediatrician if you would like to consider psychostimulant medication for a child who has ADHD.