Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood disorder. Children may suffer from one or both of the two ADHD subtypes, including an inattentive type and a hyperactive-impulsive type. The symptoms of both types of ADHD may make it difficult to perform well in school, focus on tasks or remain calm, but treatment options are available that can help children with ADHD manage their symptoms and succeed in classroom and other settings.
The Symptoms of ADHD
Children diagnosed with an inattentive type of adhd child may seem unable to pay attention to details and as a result, make careless mistakes in schoolwork. They may also find it difficult to pay attention during lessons, follow instructions and stay organized. Many children with this type of ADHD are forgetful and have a tendency to lose things like homework, textbooks or toys. They may also be easily distracted and may appear to having listening problems.
The hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD is characterized by fidgeting, squirming and difficult sitting still. Children with this type of ADHD may seem to have an abundance of energy that inspires them to run, climb and always be ‘on the go.’ They may have difficulty waiting to be called on in class, working quietly alone or remaining patient while waiting in line. Children with the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD may also frequently interrupt others and talk excessively.
Most children with ADHD experience a combination of both types and find it very difficult to function in a classroom setting as a result of their symptoms.
Treatment of ADHD
Although there is no cure for ADHD, medications and behavior therapy can help children manage their symptoms. Stimulant medications are the most common treatment for ADHD. These medications, such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate, balance the brain’s neurotransmitters and improve symptoms like hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. Other medications used to treat ADHD include antidepressants and high blood pressure medications, like clonidine and guanfacine, that have been shown to treat various symptoms of the disorder.
Behavior therapy is often used in conjunction with medications to treat the symptoms of ADHD. Through behavior therapy, children and their families learn how to manage the symptoms of ADHD in healthy ways. Some parents and teachers learn through therapy to alter the behavior of children with ADHD by offering token rewards for positive behavior and timeouts for negative behaviors. Parents may also attend therapy to learn different ways of managing their child’s behavior.