My Q Health | Overcoming ADHD and Coming into Your Own
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Overcoming ADHD and Coming into Your Own

Overcoming ADHD and Coming into Your Own

As more children are diagnosed with ADHD and no cure has yet emerged, many parents of children with ADHD may be wondering what their prospects for a happy, healthy life are. Will the medications make a difference? Will they keep working? Will therapy help? Will my child find a way to succeed?

These are common concerns. An estimated 8 to 10 percent of American children live with ADHD, according to the Nemours Foundation. More children have been diagnosed with ADHD than ever before, and no one is sure exactly whether it’s because more children have it, or it’s diagnosed more frequently. Research and experience have both shown that ADHD can be treated successfully, and children with ADHD can and do grow into productive, successful, happy adults.

Defining The Condition

To understand what ADHD is, it’s helpful to define what it isn’t. All children will have times when they behave in ways that seem out of control. Whether they’re constantly in motion, have trouble sticking to one task, making nonstop noise, or bumping into every item in a room, children have a lot of energy and find all sorts of ways to expend it. That’s to be expected, and it is not necessarily ADHD.

But when that behavior occurs more often or is more severe (or both), especially in situations where it is more of a problem (such as school), it may be ADHD. The only way to know for sure is to take your child to see your pediatrician. It’s important that you do so, too, because ADHD is not something children simply outgrow. It can be controlled, however, with effective treatment.

There Are Three Basic Types of ADHD:

  • Inattentive type: Children with this type of the condition often have trouble:
    • Paying attention and concentrating on a task.
    • Listening and following instructions.
    • Organizing.
    • Ignoring distractions.
    • Doing things that require sustained mental effort.
  • Hyperactive-impulsive type. These children often experience difficulty with:
    • Sitting still and calming down when appropriate.
    • The normal flow of conversation — they often interrupt, blurt out suddenly, or talk at great length frequently.
    • Being patient and waiting, as when they’re in a line.
  • Combined type. These children show symptoms of both types at different times. This is the most common type of ADHD.

No one knows what exactly causes ADHD. We know it is a disorder of the brain, rather than just a behavior problem, and that it is not caused by excess sugar in the diet, or poor parenting. Research has repeatedly ruled out these possibilities. Studies into ADHD’s cause are ongoing, and experts suspect that the condition has a biological source. The bulk of research shows there is a genetic link, as ADHD tends to run in families, and other issues (low-birth weight, prenatal smoking, and other prenatal problems) can contribute to the cause or severity of ADHD.

Recent studies have shown a link with smoking during pregnancy, low-birth weight, and premature delivery. There is even some research showing a link between early TV viewing and attention problems later in life. While this link is unconfirmed, it is wise to follow the AAP’s guidelines for screen time (including TV, DVDs, video games, and computer activity). Children under 2 years old should avoid any screen time, and children older than two should be limited to no more than 2 hours per day.

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