Although the symptoms of ADHD can vary, they are a fairly reliable way of identifying a potential problem in your child. The condition formerly called attention deficit disorder (ADD), now known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has generated a great deal of controversy in the United States and many people believe it is over-diagnosed and over-medicated. Nevertheless, for those children who do suffer from ADHD, a combination of medication and counseling can be life changing.
Causes of ADD or ADHD
Today, approximately 6 to7 percent of children have been formally diagnosed with ADHD, and half will carry symptoms into adulthood. Although the cause is often not known, many children inherit the condition from parents. In some cases, ADHD can develop after a brain infection or head trauma. Environmental causes such as lead or PCB exposure have been linked to this disorder as well, as has exposure to tobacco smoke in the womb. Emerging research has identified a potential link between ADHD and some foods, and food-related chemicals such as dyes and preservatives, but additional studies are needed to confirm this link.
How ADHD Affects Your Child
Many families first become alerted to a problem when their child experiences academic difficulties. Kids may lack attention and focus, exhibiting hyperactive behaviors such as not being able to stay in their seat. They may stare out the window, daydream, forget things or become bored easily with tasks, switching among activities frequently. They may be unable to follow directions or appear not to be listening when spoken to. They may fidget or squirm, talk seemingly without taking a breath and frequently lose things. They may be impatient, speak inappropriately or have trouble controlling emotions. They may not be able to wait their turn. Learning disabilities are the most common result, but a variety of other conditions can accompany ADHD, including mood disorders, anxiety and substance abuse.
Treatment and Management of ADHD
For children who suffer from this disorder, the adoption of a medication and treatment regimen can make a dramatic difference. Academic performance and social interactions often improve rapidly once treatment begins. Medication is only part of ADHD management, however, and counseling is crucial for truly getting kids back on the right path. This is especially true for girls, if they are to return to typical emotional and intellectual development. Without both medication and counseling, children with ADHD can have a more difficult time earning a college degree.
Havenwood Academy offers an effective therapeutic program for teenage girls suffering from ADHD. Using experiential therapy and other proven counseling methods, girls learn to recognize and understand their symptoms, and develop effective coping strategies that lead to personal accomplishment and continued success. If you recognize the symptoms of ADHD in your daughter, contact Havenwood Academy to learn more.