The most common behavioral health diagnosis in children is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder known by its acronym ADHD. According to the CDC 9.4% of children ages 2-17 are diagnosed with ADHD. Some people doubt it is a real phenomenon, but it is extremely well studied and documented with over 100,000 articles in science journals and medical textbooks dating back to 1775*.
ADHD is usually first diagnosed in childhood and the symptoms frequently carry on into adulthood. People with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, may act without-thinking-about-the-consequences, or be overly active. We all may have these symptoms at times however with ADHD they are constant and hinder academic, social, and developmental progress.
ADHD hallmarks include:
- Pervasive distractibility
- Difficulty being organized
Research indicates that children with ADHD are more likely to become depressed and anxious. If you are the parent of a young person who is diagnosed with ADHD it is essential that you help your child see themselves through their strengths rather than their setbacks. The words you use to tell them who they are can make all the difference. Teach and model coping skills, friendship skills, and organizational skills to your child. By doing all of this, you will give them the tools they need for life.
Like any other challenge in life, ADHD can be overcome with the right interventions, training, patience, persistence, and love. Families that have a child who meets the criteria, need support, understanding, and skill building. Children with the symptoms need to be met with compassion. Interventions should begin as early as possible because ADHD can slow a child's academic, social, and developmental progress. Early intervention can make a huge difference so reach out to your pediatrician or trusted mental health provider and get the help you need.
If you or one of your family members have ADHD one of the best ways to manage the symptoms is to regularly practice exercises that enhance your mental focus and concentration. Yoga, martial arts, distance running, or even coloring are tools to help develop focus and concentration skills. Don't be discouraged. There are many interventions that can help. It's a matter of learning and practicing a set of skills that offset the interferences of ADHD symptoms.
A friend of mine who is a medical doctor and who has severe ADHD has this advice: Early intervention is so important. Get treatment as soon as possible because ADHD impacts the course of life the child will have. ADHD can lead to obstacles including impeded academic progress, relationship conflicts, questions about self-worth, and difficulty with decision making. Treatment may include medical interventions, individual and family counseling, and nutrition. Speak with your child’s pediatrician or a trusted mental health professional to discuss the best way to move forward.
-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCCS, Executive Director
*(Barkley R, 2019 https://www.adhdawarenessmonth.org/thousands‐studies‐say‐adhd‐is‐real/ (Full Length) Posted 9‐16‐2019)