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Adhd In Children
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
is a condition that affects your child's behavior. Your child may be overactive and have a short attention span. ADHD may make it difficult for him to do well at home or in school. He may also have problems getting along with other people. ADHD usually starts before age 7 and is more common among boys. The exact cause of ADHD is not known.
Common signs and symptoms include the following:
- Get easily distracted or have a hard time focusing
- Avoid chores or activities that need full attention
- Not follow or easily forget instructions or directions
- Not seem to listen when spoken to
- Make careless mistakes or lose things
- Have problems organizing tasks or chores
- Hyperactivity and impulsivity:
- Become easily bored
- Talk a lot, interrupt, or intrude into conversations or games
- Have problems doing quiet activities or sitting still
- Have problems waiting turns or waiting in line
- Have more energy than other children his age
- Combined type: This is the most common type of ADHD and is a combination of the other 2 types.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your child has hurt himself or someone else.
- You feel like hurting your child.
When should I seek immediate care?
- Your child has trouble breathing, chest pains, or a fast heartbeat.
When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?
- 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 healthcare provider.
- Your child's symptoms are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Treatment for ADHD
is aimed at helping your child learn how to control his behavior. Healthcare providers will also work with you to help you learn to cope with your child's ADHD. Your child may need any of the following:
- Behavior therapy is used to teach your child how to control his actions and improve his behavior. This is done by teaching him how to change his behavior by looking at the results of his actions.
- Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. Your child may have one-on-one visit with a therapist or with others in a group setting.
- Stimulants help your child pay attention, concentrate better, and manage his energy.
- Antidepressants help decrease or prevent depression or anxiety. It can also be used to treat other behavior problems.
Ways to support your child:
- Be patient with your child. Try to stop his behavior problems quickly so they do not get out of control. It will not help to yell at your child to get him to behave. Stay calm and be direct. Always give him eye contact and explain why the behavior needs to stop. Try to be patient as your child learns new ways to behave well.
- Praise your child for good behavior. Children often respond better to praise than to criticism. It may be helpful to set up a reward system with your child. For example, he can earn points or tokens for good behavior that he can exchange for something he wants.
- Help your child understand tasks he needs to do. Make eye contact with your child and give him 1 task. Let him complete the task before you give him a new task. Work with his teachers to make sure you know what homework is assigned and when it is due. Your child may need to start working on assignments well before they are due. He may need to work for short periods at a time. A homework notebook can help your child keep track of assignments and make sure he turns in the work.
- Help your child manage stress. Stress may make your child's ADHD worse. Teach your child how to control stress. Ask about ways to 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 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.
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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.