What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that impairs a person's life with family, friends, school, and/or work.
Symptoms of ADHD include:
- Careless mistakes on school or work activities
- Difficulty sustaining attention in work or play
- Appears not to listen when spoken to
- Fails to follow through on instructions
- Avoid tasks requiring sustained attention
- Often loses personal items
- Easily distracted by outside sights or sounds
- Often forgetful
- Often fidgets
- Has trouble sitting still
- Runs or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate to do so
- Difficulty playing quietly
- Often "on the go"
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Difficulty waiting turn
- Interrupts others
A person with ADHD may not have all of these symptoms, but they will have several and experience them more severely than is expected for individuals at their developmental level.
How common is ADHD?
- About 1 in 12 children have ADHD, although less than half of those ever receive treatment for this condition
What are the common treatments for ADHD?
- Medication: stimulant medications like methylphenidate are an FDA approved treatment for ADHD.
- Parent Training: teaching parents on how they can manage their child's environment to reduce symptoms.
- Education: educating families about how to anticipate developmental challenges that are difficult for ADHD children, and about ways to improve the child’s academic and behavioral functioning.
- Individual Psychotherapy: the clinician helps the child understand his/her emotions and actions, and how to deal with both.
- Family Therapy: foster mutual support, positive reinforcement, direct communication, and more effective problem solving and conflict resolution.
What are some things families can do at home to increase the success of children with ADHD?
- Talk about what is happening right now.
- Use short explanation (10 words or less)
- Say exactly what you want/mean.
- Focus on solutions, not problems.
- Ask questions and get feedback.
- Keep a routine and communicate that routine to the child so he/she knows what to expect.
- Keep the house organized, keep everything in its place.
- Be consistent in how you enforce rules of the household.
- Look for opportunities to provide praise or small rewards for good behavior.
- See the child as a whole person with strengths and weaknesses.
In addition to your child's doctor, where can you go for help?
In San Antonio, TX
- UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Department of Psychiatry - (210) 567-5555
- Clarity Child Guidance Center - outpatient services (210) 614-7070; inpatient services (210) 616-0300
- Nix Behavioral Health Services
- Center for Health Care Services - child and adolescent crisis line (800) 316-9241
In Austin, TX
- Austin Center for Child Psychology - (512) 484-4994
Videos on ADHD
- ADHD in the classroom - Clarity Child Guidance Center on-demand video
- Psychiatric Medications and Children - Clarity Child Guidance Center on-demand video
- ADHD Resource Center – American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- ADHD Guide for Families – American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- ADHD National Institute of Mental Health - html pdf
- ADHD Information - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- ADHD - American Psychological Association
- National Mental Health Information Center - SAMHSA
- ADHD What you should know - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- ADHD - NARSAD
- Mental Health Conditions and Diagnoses, ADHD - Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
- Adult ADHD - WebMD
- Understanding the Ritalin debate - American Psychological Association
- AD/HD and Co-Existing Disorders - National Resource Center on ADHD
- AD/HD and Coexisting Conditions: Disruptive Behavior Disorders - National Resource Center on ADHD
- Online ADHD Resource Center - National Alliance on Mental Illness