ADD/ADHD in Children and Adolescents

Fifth Avenue Psychiatry - child ADD/ADHD treatmentSometimes children have trouble staying focused, paying attention or sitting still in class. Sometimes the cause of this is ADD/ADHD. The child does want to be a good student, but their behavior and problems paying attention in class causes problems for them. Teachers, parents, and friends see the behavior but they may not know exactly what is wrong. A majority of children in school have trouble paying attention, get easily distracted, are impulsive or hyperactive, but the ADD/ADHD child exhibit these symptoms and behaviors more frequently and severely than other children. 

What are the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children and adolescents?

A child with ADD/ADHD often exhibits the following symptoms: 

  • Always seems "on the go"
  • Blurts out answers
  • Careless mistakes
  • Difficulty finishing tasks
  • Difficulty following multiple commands
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Easily distracted
  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Impatience
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Lack of attention to details
  • Leaves their seat frequently
  • Problems with listening
  • Runs or climbs excessively
  • Talks too much and cannot play quietly
  • Unorganized

How is ADD/ADHD assessed and treated?

A comprehensive evaluation is needed when ADD/ADHD is suspected. Parents can work with a child and adolescent psychiatrist, who can diagnose and treat the condition. A child with ADD/ADHD may also have other psychiatric disorders. They may also have learning disabilities. 

Without treatment, the child may fall behind in school and friendships, and their self-esteem may also suffer. The child is criticized by teachers and family who do not realize there is a mental health problem. Medication can help improve attention, focus, behavior and organizational skills. Medications include the stimulants and non-stimulants. Other medications such as antidepressants may also be helpful. 

Other treatment approaches may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills education, parent education and modifications to the child’s education program. Behavioral therapy can help a child control their aggression, social behavior and become more productive. Therapy can help build the child’s self-esteem, lessen negative thoughts and improve problem-solving skills. Parents can benefit from management skills such as single-step instructions instead of multiple requests at once. Education modifications can help ease ADD/ADHD symptoms as well as any other learning disabilities. 

A child with ADD/ADHD who receives appropriate treatment can have a productive and successful life. 

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