Does My Son or Daughter Have ADHD or ADD?
Taken together, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are the most common neuro-behavioral disorders diagnosed in children. Nearly all children have times when their attention or behavior are disruptive or out of control. Normal tantrums or outbursts are not necessarily ADHD-related. An ADHD diagnosis is possible when a child’s behavior or distractions interfere with their ability to function in normal day-to-day activities and social interactions.
Although ADHD cannot be “cured,” there are many techniques, treatments, and medications that can help manage symptoms successfully. And normally ADHD symptoms decrease with age.
What Causes ADHD?
There is a lot of research being done to determine potential causes. Most scientists agree that – like many neuro-behavioral disorders – both genetics and environment can play a part. Recent research studying twins supports the genetic link. And there are studies suggesting that brain injury, exposure to lead-based paints, alcohol or tobacco use during pregnancy, and premature birth, among other factors, may also play a part.
It is generally considered a myth that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or lack of discipline. And even though bad dietary habits – such as excessive sugar consumption – can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, there is no currently established correlation between a normal American diet and ADHD.
Diagnosing ADHD takes time to do correctly. You have to be careful because other conditions – such as learning disabilities, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression – can manifest similar symptoms. There is no “one test” to make the determination.
If your child is experiencing persistent behavior and/or attention issues that are impacting their ability to function, you should discuss it with your child’s primary care pediatrician. The doctor has been trained to rule out other conditions and to perform behavioral tests in multiple contexts to narrow the diagnosis.
How Do You Treat ADHD?
For all patients diagnosed with ADHD, behavioral therapy is the best first choice – especially with younger children from 4-to-5 years of age. In older children, a combination of behavioral therapy, parental training, and medication may be in order. Your pediatrician can discuss all of the options with you.
What Do You Do if Your Child Has ADHD?
If you suspect that you child may be suffering with ADHD, contact your pediatrician as soon as possible. Once an effective diagnosis is made, modern treatments and therapies have proven effective.
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Sources and Additional Resources
An Overview of ADHD by HealthyChildren.org, a division of the AAP:
Basic Information on ADHD from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
“ADHD Myths & Misconceptions” by HealthyChildren.org, a division of the AAP:
These links will allow you access to printable office forms. Note these forms should not be emailed back to the office. If you prefer, you can fax these to us at 770-772-6099, or bring them with you on your next visit."
- Patient Information Sheet - Attention New Patients - This form is now done in the office on one of our iPads. Please come in 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment so we can get your child in our system and keep them on time for their first appointment with us.
- Consultation Form
- Medical Record Release
- Vanderbilt ADHD ADD Parent Form
- Vanderbilt ADHD ADD Teacher Form
Use these links to find more information about topics listed:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Diabetes
- Centers for Disease
- Children's Healthcare of
- Children and Adults with Attention Deficit and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
- The Cord Blood
- Immunization Schedules from the
- US Dept of Health and Human Services
- Vaccine information from the CDC