Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects children and teens and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children, affecting about 7% of all children.
Children with ADHD may be hyperactive and unable control their impulses. They may have trouble paying attention. These behaviours interfere with school and home life.
It’s more common in boys than in girls. It’s usually discovered during the early school years when a child begins to have problems paying attention.
Symptoms are grouped into three categories:
Inattention: A child with ADHD:
• Is easily distracted
• Doesn’t follow directions or finish tasks
• Doesn’t appear to be listening
• Doesn’t pay attention and makes careless mistakes
• Forgets about daily activities
• Have problems organizing daily tasks
• Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still
• Often loses things
• Tends to daydream
Hyperactivity: A child with ADHD:
• Often squirms fidgets, or bounces when sitting
• Doesn’t stay seated
• Has trouble playing quietly
• Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (In teens and adults, this is more commonly described as restlessness.)
• Talks excessively
• Is always “on the go” as if “driven by a motor”
Impulsivity: A child with ADHD:
• Has trouble waiting for his or her turn
• Blurts out answers
• Interrupts others
• Having structure and a routine can help children and adolescents with ADHD function more successfully on a daily basis.
• Behaviour modification teaches ways to replace unwanted behaviours with more appropriate ones.
• Psychotherapy (counselling) can help someone with ADHD learn better ways to handle their emotions and frustration. It can also help improve their
self-esteem. Counselling may also help family members better understand the child or adolescent with ADHD.
• Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Therapy is also helpful in managing stress and in relaxation.
• Social skills training can teach behaviours, such as taking turns, sharing, and relationship development at home, school and work.