From the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.
Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, and include:
- Impulsiveness: a child who acts quickly without thinking first.
- Hyperactivity: a child who cant sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated, talks when others are talking.
- Inattention: a child who daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her.
How is it diagnosed?
If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a professional with training in ADHD. This includes child psychiatrists, psychologists, developmental/behavioral pediatricians, behavioral neurologists, and clinical social workers. After ruling out other possible reasons for the child???s behavior, the specialist checks the child???s school and medical records and talks to teachers and parents who have filled out a behavior rating scale for the child. A diagnosis is made only after all this information has been considered.
Effective treatments for ADHD are available, and include behavioral therapy and medications.