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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder In Children


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects your child's behavior. Children with ADHD can be overactive and have short attention spans. ADHD may make it difficult for your child to do well at home or in school. ADHD may also cause your child to have problems getting along with other people. ADHD usually starts before your child is 7 years old and is more common among boys. The exact cause of ADHD is not known.



  • Stimulants: This medicine helps your child pay attention, concentrate better, and manage his energy.

  • Antidepressants: This medicine helps decrease or prevent the symptoms of depression or anxiety. It can also be used to treat other behavior problems.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider as directed:

Your child will need to have regular visits with his primary healthcare provider to make sure his medicine is working. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Work with your child:

  • Be patient with your child: Find things that your child is good at. Reinforce good behavior in your child.

  • Help your child manage stress: Stress may make your child's ADHD worse. Teach your child how to control stress. Ask about ways to help calm his body and mind. These may include deep breathing, muscle relaxation, music, and biofeedback. Have your child talk to someone about things that upset him.

  • Feed your child healthy foods: These include fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, lean meat, and fish. Healthy foods may help your child feel better. Your child's primary healthcare provider may want your child to eat a special diet or one that is low in fat. Your child should drink water, juices, and milk. Limit the amount of caffeine your child drinks.

  • Learn more about ADHD: The more you know about ADHD, the better you will be able to help yourself and your child. Work with your child's teacher to help your child in school.

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:

  • You feel you cannot help your child at home.

  • Your child's ADHD prevents him from doing most of his daily activities.

  • Your child has new symptoms since the last time he visited his primary healthcare provider.

  • Your child's symptoms are getting worse.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Your child had a convulsion.

  • Your child has trouble breathing, chest pains, or a fast heartbeat.

  • Your child has hurt himself or someone else.

  • You feel like hurting your child.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.