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ADHD in Children Health Center

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When to Call the Doctor About ADHD

If I suspect my child has ADHD, where do I go for help?

If your child has difficulty getting along with peers, problems listening or paying attention to adults, is easily distracted, and does not follow through on daily tasks, talk to your doctor about ADHD.

Currently, several types of health care providers diagnose and treat individuals with ADHD. Psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, developmental and behavioral pediatricians, and pediatric or family physicians are able to diagnose children with ADHD. They can also prescribe medication.

Psychologists and other mental health professionals can assist in the diagnosis and non-medication- treatment of ADHD. For example, they can help your child with behavioral therapy or social skills training. Mental health professionals also provide family therapy. There are also support groups for people with ADHD as well as family members.

Should I give my child medication for ADHD?

Having their child take medication can be a difficult decision for parents. In a large study of children with ADHD sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers compared four different treatment options. The children were divided into four groups, and all received different forms of treatment for over a year.

The two groups that received medication treatment did better compared to those who did not. The group that received medication and intense behavioral intervention had the best results in several areas. Those areas included social skills, academics, and family relationships.

The CDC encourages parents of children with serious symptoms of ADHD to seek professional advice. Unfortunately, there is no one single cure for ADHD. Individuals must work with their healthcare providers to customize the treatment that will work best for them.

Where should I go for help if my teen has ADHD?

If your teen is unorganized, fails to pay attention to adults at home or at school, has difficulty with peers and other relationships, loses important items frequently, and is very active and impulsive, talk to your doctor about ADHD.

As teens enter puberty, many have problems with teachers or authority figures, peers, and parents. These problems often accompany poor academic performance. Sometimes, these problems subside as the teen's hormonal havoc calms down. Yet problems with inattention in the teen years may also be a sign of ADHD that was undiagnosed during childhood.

If your teen is inattentive and overly self-reliant, talk to your doctor. Ask your doctor to assess the teen for ADHD. If the teen has ADHD, your doctor can prescribe effective medication to help your teen self-manage ADHD symptoms and behaviors. If the teen does not have ADHD, you may want to start behavioral therapy to make sure the teen has the coping skills necessary to carry him or her through the erratic teen years and into adulthood.

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