ADHD IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
Important information about ADHD in children
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can sometimes be referred to as attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or hyperactivity. The more common name is ADHD because it includes two core aspects of the condition: inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. In fact, mental health professionals classify the symptoms of ADHD into one of three types which are based on these two core aspects. These are referred to as the Hyperactive/impulsive type, the Inattentive type (which is still often referred to as ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder), and the Combined type (inattentive/hyperactive/impulsive).
ADHD is without doubt one of the most common psychological disorders diagnosed in children, as it affects between approximately 5% and 10% of school-aged children. It is estimated that there are about half a million children who suffer from ADHD in Canada. Without proper treatment, the vast majority of these children will have symptoms that are severe enough to still qualify for a diagnosis in adolescence; 60% will continue to have symptoms that cause impairment in adulthood.
The symptoms of ADHD in children can include:
- Trouble with concentration or focusing
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Decreased ability to tolerate frustration
- Mood swings
- Difficulty managing stress
- Difficulties in relationships
For example, children with ADHD may have a tendency to squirm and fidget, move constantly, have difficulty listening or playing quietly, and talk excessively and interrupt others, or they may be easily distracted and have difficulty finishing tasks. ADHD is a behavioral diagnosis, which means that it is not diagnosed using blood or other physical tests.
What's normal and what's not?
All healthy children can at times be inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive. In fact, it is absolutely not abnormal for children to have short attention spans and to have some difficulty in sticking with one activity for very long. The same can be said of hyperactivity, as healthy children can be very energetic, some more so than others. A child who has problems at school but does fine outside of school, or a child who is hyperactive or inattentive at home but whose functioning at school or with friends is fine, is likely struggling with something other than ADHD. Unfortunately, parents, teachers and professionals sometimes conclude the child has ADHD too quickly, thus leading to treatments and interventions that are not needed.
If you worry that your child has ADHD, you should always speak to a professional who has expertise with that specific condition. In all cases, do not hesitate to trust your instincts, as nobody knows your child better than you, and you are often in the best position to determine if your child's problems are severe, persistent, and pervasive enough to warrant professional services. To help you in deciding, get as much information as you can from diverse trusted organizations (e.g. CADDRA), not only for example from drug companies.
A few videos to help you find your way:
DID YOU KNOW?
Medipsy also offers other services to children, adolescents, and adults, for individuals, couples and families, including psychological assessments, neuropsychological assessments, psychotherapy, and more.