In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 6.1 million children between the ages of 2 and 17 in the United States have ADHD. Although it is possible to diagnose a child as young as 2 with ADHD/ADD, typically symptoms are not fully noticed until the child is in their school years when parents, teachers, and others notice in the child a lack of focus, hyperactivity, and impatience.
What is child attention deficit disorder (ADD)?
ADD/ADHD is a chronic brain disorder with no known cure that affects the way a child or adult interacts with others and the world around them. Certain treatments options, however, offer many benefits to those the condition affects.
The first step, however, is getting a diagnosis. Only then can a treatment plan be put in place to help a child or adult with ADD/ADHD manage their condition.
The most common symptoms in children tend to be difficulty waiting their turn, distress while waiting in waiting rooms or school assemblies, distracting others or being distracted by others, and emotional turmoil or difficulty expressing emotions in a healthy way.
Other symptoms include problems sitting still, difficulty finishing tasks, a frequent need for good or bad attention, hyperactivity, behaving in a way that is deemed impulsive, and blurting out or using socially inappropriate language.
Although these are the most common signs of ADD in children, there are also other signs that do not appear as often. Not all children, however, will exhibit the same symptoms. A missed opportunity to diagnose the condition can result in lifelong difficulty in many different areas of life.
Less common symptoms
A child who appears to be looking the other way might be distracted from a task as a result of their undiagnosed ADD/ADHD.
Talking a lot
Although it is normal for children to talk a lot and express interest in many things, a child with undiagnosed ADD/ADHD might do this more than other children. You might also notice that your child appears to not think before they speak and instead says whatever comes to mind.
Problems napping and sleeping
Again, although it can be common for a child to have difficulty getting into a sleep routine, a lack of sleep pattern from a young age can be one of the earliest signs of ADD/ADHD. Symptoms also include frequent waking or early rising.
Poor self esteem
Children with ADD/ADHD might exhibit low self esteem, which can often be mistaken for another condition, such as anxiety or depression.
Children with ADD/ADHD can often become anxious about overwhelming tasks set for them. This is especially true if you try to expose them to the thing they are afraid of, such as waiting in a waiting room. Anxiety can sometimes manifest as anger.
Although it is normal for children to be very self interested, a child with ADD/ADHD might be less aware of those around them. Your child might learn this at school when they have to interact with a larger group of the same age.
These symptoms can overlap with those of other conditions, which can sometimes lead to a false diagnosis. For example, children with a supposed inability to focus might be suffering from eyesight or hearing problems, which limit their ability to focus on a task. This is why it is so important for other conditions to be ruled out before ADD/ADHD is considered.
There are now a range of treatments available to a child with ADD/ADHD.
A child might learn practical skills and alternative ways of doing things to better manage their condition.
A variety of medications are available to help treat the impulsivity and hyperactivity that ADD/ADHD can cause. Sometimes medications need to be trialed for a while to test their suitability. All medications have side effects but will only be given to your child if the benefits outweigh the risks.
It is important that the family members surrounding a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are educated about the condition and equipped to deal with it in a proactive way. Parental education can include learning tactics and responses to help a child cope with the condition. Often this approach is best used alongside another form of intervention such as medication or behavioral therapy or both.
The first step to helping a child is noticing the symptoms in the first place. Since all children are different, it is not always clear that a child might be living with this condition. Some of the symptoms can be less common or mistaken for another condition, such as anxiety. Therefore, if you think your child might have ADD/ADHD, it is important you speak to a care professional who can undertake a full evaluation.
For more information
If you think your child may have this condition, then take action that benefits their health. For more information, contact MississippiCare at (866) 608-1834 to arrange a consultation with a healthcare professional.