ADHD: Understanding Symptoms And The Evaluation Process

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition often seen in children. While ADHD has similarities to anxiety disorders, it's not the same condition.

A child with ADHD has differences in brain activity and development that affect their ability to sit still and their attention and self-control.

When left untreated, this condition interferes with school and typically impacts everyone in the home. While treatment helps those with ADHD, it is not curable, so it's a good idea to have an ADHD evaluation if your child shows symptoms.

Here's what parents need to know about ADHD and treatment options.

Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD typically begin in childhood, so understanding what to watch for can help to determine if an ADHD evaluation is necessary. An undiagnosed child with this condition will have it for life, and it can interfere with adults in work and with relationships.

ADHD impacts people in a variety of ways, so understanding symptoms is key.

  • Aggression
  • Excitability
  • Impulsiveness
  • Repetition
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Short attention span
  • Anger
  • Boredom
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Learning disabilities

While these are common symptoms, it's not a complete symptom list. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, it's important to discuss them with a pediatrician.

Evaluation For ADHD

If you believe your child has symptoms of ADHD, your child's pediatrician can refer you to a professional who is qualified to perform ADHD evaluations. The evaluation process may include:

  • An interview with child and parents
  • Going over the child's medical history
  • Spending time with the child to observe the behavior
  • Psychological tests
  • Intelligence testing
  • Neurodevelopmental screening
  • Hearing and vision screening

Not every child undergoes the same evaluation process. The assessment process depends on a child's specific symptoms and behavioral issues.

The results of an evaluation are used in the development of a treatment plan. The plan is tailored to the child and includes therapy and support for home, school, and other activities.

ADHD And Coexisting Conditions

About two-thirds of children with ADHD have some other co-existing condition. It's essential to get a full evaluation to understand exactly what other conditions are present, so the child receives proper treatment.

Some common coexisting conditions include:

  • Anxiety
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Optional defiant disorder

Since some patients have overlapping symptoms, it's critical that a mental health professional look for other disorders.

Early detection and treatment are essential in helping children with ADHD perform better in school and other social activities. When left undiagnosed and untreated, ADHD can follow children throughout their life, causing issues as an adult.