What is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is a condition that can affect behavior so much that functioning on a daily basis becomes difficult.
Children and teens with ADHD:
- Have trouble paying attention,
- Have trouble finishing their work,
- Are impulsive and may act without thinking,
- Have trouble following directions,
- Have trouble managing their emotions,
- Struggle with transitions or changes and
- Are easily distracted.
While specific symptoms differ from child to child, they can lead to problems in school, with relationships (friends, family members) and with self-esteem.
How can ADHD be treated?
The best way to treat ADHD is by a combination of different types treatments. For children and adolescents in school, this usually means:
- Education on ADHD and skills training for parents,
- Strategies for understanding and building your child social skills,
- Teaching children social skills, coping skills and impulse control strategies and
- Special programs to help your child in school.
Studies have shown that providing counseling in the form of psycho-education on ADHD greatly increases the number of individuals that continue with their treatment long term. The more a family understands ADHD and how it affects their child, the better they will be at making informed choices. Treating ADHD includes continued support for families with information about ADHD and its management, education for the child with ADHD, parent and teacher training, special educational accommodations and behavioral interventions.
With treatment, children with ADHD are better able to live with and manage their symptoms. Treating ADHD often includes medication. Doctors are now able to improve the main symptoms of ADHD in a very short period of time. However, it is not recommended to treat ADHD with only medication; some form of additional education, training and/or counseling and training should always accompany medical treatment.