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Understanding ADHD

“If a child is exhibiting a combination of lack of attention at home and school, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior, it may indicate ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” says
board certified psychiatrist Nanditha Krishnamsetty, M.D.

“Too often, difficult children are incorrectly labeled with ADHD. On the other hand, manychildren who do have ADHD remain undiagnosed,” Dr. Krishnamsetty says.

“For ADHD to be diagnosed, the symptoms must be out of the normal range for a child’s ageand development, and they must be causing significant difficulties in many settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers.”

Inattentive symptoms can include difficulties organizing tasks and activities. Hyperactivity can include running about in inappropriate settings and constant fidgeting. Blurting out answers
before questions have been completed and interrupting others are signs of impulsivity.

“If ADHD is suspected, the child should have a thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist and psychologist as well as parent and teacher questionnaires, plus a physical check-up by the child’s pediatrician,” says
Dr. Krishnamsetty.

“Treating ADHD is a partnership between the health care provider, parents or caregiver, and the child. A combination of medication and behavioral treatment often works best.”

“You want to think long-term for your child,” continues Dr. Krishnamsetty, “providing them with the ability to finish school and maintain their self-esteem. Children with untreated ADHD can become angry and depressed. They may fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse, failure in school, and have problems keeping a job. With treatment, we can help prevent the complications of low self-esteem and depression, and put children on the path to a better quality of life. As adults, while they may continue to have troublesome symptoms of inattention or impulsivity, they can become more capable of controlling behaviors and compensating for these difficulties.”

“There is no way to prevent ADHD but early identification and treatment can prevent many of the problems associated with ADHD,” Dr. Krishnamsetty concludes.

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