It is natural for a parent to worry about the health of the their child. When a parent begins to notice that their child’s behavior is changing and it doesn’t seem to be natural it can be a frightening experience. There are childhood psychiatric disorders that affect a small percentage of the population. This number is quickly growing but not always due to accurate diagnoses. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one childhood psychiatric disorder that is frequently misdiagnosed.
What Is Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder?
The most common childhood psychiatric disorder is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is also known by the names Hyperkinetic Syndrome and Minimal Brain Dysfunction. It affects approximately 8 – 10% of all children in the United States and is more common amongst boys than girls. It is a behavioral problem that starts to affect children between the ages of 6 and 11. Although it is diagnosed at this age, when symptoms begin to appear, it is thought that this disorder begins to develop much earlier.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of ADHD?
Following is a list including, but not limited to, some common signs and symptoms present in a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
Inability to Focus:
Symptoms usually begin with a child’s inability to focus and concentrate on schoolwork. It is often, mistakenly, believed that these children can never pay attention in class. They don’t always pay attention in class and do begin to forget their homework but studies have shown that there is a valid reason for this. One of the chief reasons they are unable to pay attention in school is their tendency to get bored easily. When they are involved in activities that are of interest to them they are able to focus and pay attention. When they find something boring and repetitive they will tend to daydream in class.
This is the most obvious symptom of this disorder. Children who are hyperactive have to constantly be in motion and are unable to sit still for even short periods of time. They don’t play quietly, talk too much, and generally feel restless. Children that are smaller also have a tendency to run around and jump a lot. Although children with ADHD can have bouts of hyperactivity, when in their ideal environments (physically, mentally, and emotionally), they can pay attention and are able to be very successful in their endeavors.
Those that act impulsively will often speak or act without thinking first. They have a tendency to interrupt when others are speaking or speak at times that are not appropriate. It is difficult for someone who has an impulsive predisposition to wait for his or her turn or take directions from someone.
Healthy Place: America’s Mental Health Channel
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Barkley, Russell A. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Third Edition: A Handbook for Diagnosis and Treatment. New York, NY: The Guilford P; Third Edition, 2005.
Hallowell, Edward M. Driven to Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood. New York, NY: Touchstone; 1st Edition, 1995.
Wender, Paul H. ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults. USA: Oxford UP, 2001.