Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that is often diagnosed in childhood but persists into adulthood that affects behavior and social interactions. ADHD can also cause learning disabilities, depression, and cognitive issues such as absent-mindedness and difficulty learning. People with ADHD can usually manage their symptoms effectively with talk therapy and medications.
Causes and Risk Factors
Researchers are still unsure what causes ADHD, but it is believed that a combination of genetics and other factors play a role. ADHD is more common in boys. Children with relatives who have ADHD or other mental health disorders are also more likely to be diagnosed. Other possible factors include brain injury, exposure to environmental risks (e.g. toxins, lead), alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy, and premature delivery or low birthweight.
It is not uncommon for children to experience trouble with behavior, focusing, or following directions occasionally. However, children with ADHD do not grow out of their symptoms and they may even worsen, causing issues at home and school. Signs of ADHD that parents should watch for include forgetfulness, excessive fidgeting, carelessness, daydreaming, and difficulty getting along with friends.
There is no uniform process for diagnosing ADHD in children. A thorough medical exam, hearing and vision tests, and other assessments will be used to rule out other issues. Parents, teachers, and other adults in the child’s life also play an important role in monitoring and documenting symptoms related to ADHD. After diagnosis, treatment usually includes a combination of therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications.