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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Overview

Is it hard for your child to sit still? Does your child act without thinking first? Does your child start but not finish things? If so, your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD for short). Nearly everyone shows some of these behaviors at times, but ADHD lasts more than 6 months and causes problems in school, at home and in social situations.

ADHD is more common in boys than girls, and it affects 3 percent to 5 percent of children in the United States. The principal characteristics of ADHD are

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity

No one knows exactly what causes ADHD. It runs in families, so genetics may be a factor. A complete evaluation by a trained professional is the only way to know for sure if your child has ADHD. Treatment often includes medicines to control symptoms. Structure at home and at school is also important. Parenting classes or behavioral therapy may also help.

Source: MedlinePlus

Note: This topic was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Recommended Reading

Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
This nonprofit organization's mission is to provide information, resources and networking to adults with ADHD and to the professionals who work with them. Bringing together scientific perspectives and the human experience, the information and resources provided to individuals and families affected by ADHD and professionals in the field focus on diagnoses, treatments, strategies and techniques for helping adults with ADHD lead better lives.

Understanding and Diagnosing ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health
This link is to the ADHD topic that describes the symptoms, treatment of ADHD and includes information on getting help and coping.

Symptoms and Causes of ADHD, Mayo Clinic
Parents often blame themselves when a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, but scientists increasingly believe that structural changes in the brain, not parenting, may be a leading cause of the disorder, according to information on the Mayo Clinic's website. The site also examines several factors that may play a role in the development of ADHD, including altered brain function, heredity, maternal smoking, drug use and exposure to toxins, and childhood exposure to environmental toxins.

ADHD, National Alliance on Mental Illness
This national organization's website covers the basics, including definition, symptoms, what is needed for a diagnosis, how common it is and what treatments are available.

Information and Support for People with ADHD

Managing ADHD, Mayo Clinic
Caring for a child with ADHD can be challenging for the whole family. This link will take you to information on how to deal with the stress of having a family member with ADHD, including techniques for coping, giving positive reinforcement and setting a good example.

ADHD and Kids, Mental Health America
This organization, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, offers information about kids with such symptoms as inattention, impulsivity and overactivity.

ADHD, American Academy of Family Physicians
This organization provides a helpful overview for parents dealing with a diagnosis of ADHD, including possible symptoms and what to do to help a child. Información en Español.

Local Resources

Search for a Mental Health Provider, HealthInfoSource.com
Search this site to find a local mental health provider who specializes in treating people with ADD/ADHD.

Search for a Local Support Group, HealthInfoSource.com
Search this site by clicking the checkbox for "support group" and then searching by keyword "ADHD."

Mental Health Connections
This free information and referral program is a service of the Health District of Northern Larimer County and SummitStone Health Partners. Mental health professionals can assist local residents in finding information, local resources as well as free referrals to therapists.

Other Resources

Optometrists Network
Some symptoms attributed to ADD/ADHD are also seen in children and adults with visual problems, sensory integration dysfunction and/or allergies. This link features articles that explore other possible causes of ADD symptoms.

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