ADHD (attention definict hyperactivity disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that exhibit problems with attention and impulsive behavior that is uncommon for the person’s age. Symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention must begin between age six to twelve, and last for at least six months in order to be formally considered for diagnosis. Recent research tells us that 1 in 10 children in the US are diagnosed with ADHD, that it is more common in young boys than girls, and while most children show signs at some point, the number of official diagnoses in childhood ADHD has definitely risen. In the last ten years, diagnoses have gone up by a million people, meaning 3.5 billion children and teenagers between ages 4 to 17 are taking ADHD medications. To read more on factors of this increase, click here.
ADHD symptoms can vary between each person, but officially include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and continual inattention. AHDH is diagnosed when children display tangible signs of the three key symptoms, such as constantly moving or fidgeting, inability to listen or play quietly, nonstop talking, interrupting others, and having trouble completing tasks. Adults can also have ADHD, and for half of diagnosed adults, it is a continuation of childhood ADHD, though symptoms may shift (hyperactivity may become restlessness, for instance).
ADHD treatment often combines counseling, coaching, lifestyle and nutritional modifications, and special education programs along with medications. Medication is used as a primary treatment only with children with severe symptoms, and is not recommended for children at the preschool age as long-term effects are unclear. A long-term program using both medication and behavior therapy is proven to yield better results than medication on its own. Psychostimulants, or stimulants, can be an effective way to treat childhood ADHD. Stimulant medications such as Adderall, Conerta, and Ritalin work to help with focus (there are also nonstimulant drugs). ADHD medication comes in short, intermediate or long-acting forms (how long it takes to release in the body). Side effects may occur but usually are limited to early treatment and are on the mild side. Partner with your doctor in finding the right drug dosage and schedule for you.