Diagnosis is usually by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or a paediatrician. Other professionals should be consulted and evidence collected. Parents and teachers are key in observing and recording behaviours for evidence.
A child must exhibit at least six of the following symptoms for at least six months:
Failing to pay close attention to detail and making careless errors; failing to finish tasks; appearing not to listen; failing to follow through instructions; disorganised; avoiding tasks requiring sustained mental effort; losing things, e.g, pencils, toys; easily distracted; forgetful in daily activities.
A child must exhibit at least three of the following symptons for at least six months:
Runs around or excessively climbs over things; noisy or can't take part in quiet activities; unable to stay in a seat; fidgets with hands and feet or squirms on seat
A child must exhibit at least one of the following symptoms for at least six months:
Blurts out answers; fails to wait in lines; doesn't take turns; struggles in group situations; interupts others' conversations/games; talks excessively without regard to others
This should only be prescribed by a doctor or consultant for ADHD and should be taken only as and when directed. There are several tried and tested medications for addressing the problems arising from ADHD. They can help increase attention, and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity. There may also be some side effects such as weight loss, headaches or insomnia. Each person reacts differently to medication and careful monitoring is required.
Most experts favour a multi-modal approach toward treating and managing the disorder, recognising the co-existing conditions and the importance of treating all symptoms. Treatment may consist of management techniques for home and school, medication, psychological treatments, diet, e.g. food allergies and supplements.
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