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What is ADHD?

mother talking to child

What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental condition, meaning that a person with ADHD has differences in brain activity and brain development. It can affect attention, organization, short term memory, ability to sit still, activity level, impulse control, and how one regulates their emotions.

There are different types of ADHD. There is the inattentive type (previously termed ADD), the hyperactive impulsive type, or the combined type where both inattention and impulsivity/hyperactivity is present.

In order to meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, symptoms have to be present in more than one environment, such as in school, at home or during after school activities, AND symptoms have to affect daily functioning. For some kids this can mean they are receiving failing grades or their performance is not at the level that they are capable of. For others it could mean having difficulty with social interactions, or getting into trouble.

While it is important to point out that ADHD is not caused by poor parenting or a lack of discipline, it is a disability that often runs in families. Treatment usually involves a combination of behavioral strategies, educational support, and sometimes medication to help manage symptoms and improve daily functioning.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

We start diagnosing ADHD at 4 years old. Symptoms must be present for at least six months or longer, and we have to ensure there are no other conditions that can share a lot of the same traits.

ADHD is typically diagnosed clinically, meaning based on a good history and observations. If you have concerns, a good first step is to talk to your pediatrician or family doctor. They can help by asking specific questions, and have you and your child’s teacher or coach complete questionnaires. If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, they can discuss various treatment options.

If concerns are present for a learning disability or other additional diagnoses, then your primary care doctor can refer you to a psychologist who can do additional detailed testing. Not all children that have ADHD require this additional detailed testing.
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How is ADHD treated?

Effective ADHD management involves using a combination strategy. This includes addressing lifestyle factors, behavior therapy, parent-child coaching, and possibly the use of medication.

With regard to lifestyle factors, eating a healthy, balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and practicing good sleep hygiene are all very important. In addition, keeping a daily routine and structure, having checklists for daily tasks, setting up support and accommodations at school, and utilizing mindfulness exercises can all be very helpful.

When treating ADHD It’s very important to consider all of these options, and not just rely on medication alone.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us here at Coralis Health. We are always here to help!

Coralis Health, LLC is a platform to connect neurodivergent and disabled children, adults, and caregivers with highly specialized healthcare providers, therapies, and services. Our care spans all ages, starting from the initial concerns and diagnosis, all the way through adulthood. Our goal is to create a world where all people can realize their full potential!
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