Child and Adolescent ADHD
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts at least 5% of children world-wide. It is most often due to genetic or biological factors (heredity). If a child has ADHD there is a five times greater chance that another family member will also have the disorder. ADHD is not new; it has been described in literature and medically documented for more than two centuries. At least 80% of children with ADHD still meet criteria for a diagnosis in adolescence. It is recognized as a chronic (lifelong) condition since two thirds of adults are still impacted by impairing symptoms. Symptoms can present at different levels of severity, mild moderate or severe. ADHD rarely occurs by itself; the majority of children with ADHD have one of more coexisting disorders, such as a learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, Tourette Syndrome, ODD or OCD.
Examples of How ADHD Can Impact Children and Adolescents
- ADHD frequently impacts learning, resulting in failure at school or under achievement.
- ADHD can cause difficulty in regulating behaviour and emotions, resulting in poor decision making and difficulty getting along with others.
- Those with ADHD are frequently late and have difficulty judging time.
- ADHD can cause children and adolescents to forget routines, due dates and lose their belongings.
- Lists of instructions are difficult to follow and large assignments are overwhelming due to an inability to break them into smaller chunks.
- Untreated ADHD increases the chance of having additional mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and substance abuse disorder. Untreated ADHD increases rates of interaction with the justice system, physical and motor vehicle accidents and rates of dropping out of high school and post-secondary education.
ADHD is the Most Treatable Mental Health Condition
ADHD is a disorder of performance not intelligence and with proper treatment and support, children with ADHD can grow up to be productive, successful and happy adults. Treatment always needs to be multifaceted. While medication is often a safe and effective treatment option, it should always be prescribed in conjunction with psychosocial treatments such as ADHD education for the parents and caregivers; learning accommodations; and, if required, additional treatment such as behaviour therapy and specialized ADHD coaching and tutoring. Children with ADHD should be informed about the disorder to the level of their understanding. Please access ADHD Information For Children.