One of the most common disorders affecting children is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes referred to as “hyperactivity” or ADD (for attention-deficit disorder). It can continue to impact the person even on into adulthood. Primary symptoms include hyperactivity (being overly active), problems paying attention and maintaining focus, and controlling impulses and behavior. ADHD afflicts millions of children, adolescents and adults, wreaking havoc in life, affecting relationships, school and work performance. Untreated ADHD can lead to other problems, including failure at school or work. Individuals with ADHD are also more prone to accidents, have more difficulties in social interactions, and are more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. Children with ADHD have a high risk of engaging in delinquent behavior.
While experts don’t know exactly what causes ADHD, several factors may contribute to the disorder’s development, including heredity, brain structure and activity, and environmental factors. Typically, the symptoms of the disorder are apparent before a child turns 7, and may be observed in infants. There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment can significantly help with symptoms. In fact, most children who have ADHD become high-functioning, successful adults. Medication (stimulants, such as Ritalin, Adderall, Cylert or Dexedrine, and the non-stimulant medication, Strattera), skills training, and psychotherapy, family therapy, and support groups can all help an individual with ADHD lead a more productive life.