According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 (approximately 6.4 million young people) struggle with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This rate makes ADHD one of the most common mental health conditions in the country, including in the Magee area and in other parts of Mississippi. It is a condition that is often noticeably present in children, with symptoms that can follow an individual into adulthood.
It is important that parents are educated about the difference between a developmental phase, ADHD, or another mental health or physical health problem that could cause their children to show behaviors that are cause for concern. The most common symptoms and signs of ADHD in children can include the following:
- Having trouble focusing on tasks or activities
- Making careless mistakes
- Not following through with instructions
- Avoiding tasks that require mental effort
- Being forgetful in everyday activities
- Often being fidgety or squirmy
- Being unable to participate in activities in a quiet manner
- Tending to interrupt others
- Talking excessively
- Climbing or running when inappropriate to do so
These symptoms can be a signal that something else is occurring, however if you are a parent and your child has displayed these symptoms prior to age 12, within more than one setting (i.e. at home and at school), or are not better explained by another condition, it is likely that your child is affected by ADHD and treatment might be required.
As a parent, hearing that your child has a mental health condition can be very overwhelming, however, a condition as common as ADHD can be easily treated through the right approach. A parent’s concerns about their child’s behaviors are typically brought to the attention of the child’s pediatrician, who is likely to prescribe a medication to help control the behaviors.
Not all pediatricians will follow through with referrals for behavioral health care such as therapy, which is one of the reasons why it is important for parents to know that medications such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin are not the only or necessarily the best options for treating ADHD.
In fact, the CDC recommends that children under age six who are diagnosed with ADHD are treated with behavioral therapy prior to being prescribed medication, as there are a handful of benefits of taking this approach first before introducing medications. Behavior therapy is not only helpful in providing children with the appropriate coping skills needed to overcome some of their most challenging symptoms, but it can also enable parents with similar skills to help guide them into doing so.
This does not mean that medication should be entirely removed from a child’s treatment. Studies have shown that when behavior therapy is combined with medication, that 70% to 80% of young children with ADHD receive positive results.
If you are a parent who is worried about your child’s wellbeing, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Millcreek of Magee. We can help you better determine if your child is, in fact, struggling with ADHD, or if it is another condition that is impacting him or her. Do not wait to call us. If you have any type of feeling that something is off, reaching out for help is the best thing you can do.