What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 6 million children in the United States. It is characterized by a pattern of inattention, impulsiveness, and/or hyperactivity that interferes with a person’s ability to function in socially acceptable ways. As a medical condition, it can be diagnosed and treated, although it cannot be “cured.”
Who is at Risk for ADHD?
ADHD is more common in boys than girls, and the risk for the disorder is highest between the ages of 3 and 6. For some people, the symptoms may lessen as they age, but the disorder must still be managed. Many people who suffer from ADHD have difficulty focusing at work or school, are prone to making careless mistakes, and have difficulty with social relationships.
How is ADHD Diagnosed?
ADHD can be difficult to diagnose, as it can often be mistaken for other behavioral disorders or developmental issues. When a doctor is considering a diagnosis, they will take into account behavioral symptoms as well as medical history, family history, and other factors. A physical exam and laboratory tests are also often part of the diagnosis process.
Treatment for ADHD
The primary goals of treatment for people with ADHD are to improve focus, reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity, improve social skills, and to teach better self-control. Treatment plans may include medications, psychotherapy, education and behavior management strategies, and lifestyle changes. Children may also benefit from accommodations and modifications in their school environments.
Managing ADHD at Home and Work
Managing ADHD symptoms at home and work can be a challenge, but it is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At home, parents and caregivers can help by providing structure, creating a distraction-free environment, encouraging independence, and providing outlets for creativity and self-expression. At work, employers can create an environment that is conducive to productivity, focusing on tasks that focus on strengths, and giving clear instructions for assignments.
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