ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in Young People

Does your child constantly fidget? Are they the child that is climbing under and over chairs in the waiting room while you watch other children sitting there reading books? Do they hardly seem to sleep and have an abundance of energy that wears you out? Are they often being told off at school and coming home covered in bruises or even breaking limbs as they do not think before they jump? If so I would suggest it is worth you getting your child assessed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In the UK, surveys of children between the ages of 5 and 15 years found that 3.62% of boys and 0.85% of girls had ADHD. The figure is probably much higher but a proportion are undiagnosed.

Leaving ADHD undiagnosed can have serious consequences for a young person in future life. Statistics clearly demonstrate those with symptoms who are undiagnosed in childhood are far more likely to fail academically, to become involved with the criminal justice system, to have failed relationships and to use illegal substances, so please do not ignore the following symptoms in your child.

Symptoms of ADHD include:

Unable to focus on and continue tasks for any length of time

Changing frequently from one activity to another with no perseverance at anything

Being restless in situations where you would normally expect a child to be calm

Consistently being noisy, fidgeting and wriggling when they should be sitting still and quietly

Acting recklessly and not considering their actions could be dangerous

Difficulty waiting for their turn and interrupting when others are talking or doing an activity

Normally there would be signs of the above symptoms being more extreme than expected for a young person’s IQ and age from before the age of 6 and the symptoms are there most of the time and do not go away.

Dr van Zwanenberg can assess a young person for ADHD. She will need reports from you as parents or carers, school, as well as the young person themselves. Medication may be indicated for ADHD and if it is prescribed it needs close monitoring. There are several different options for medication and Dr van Zwanenberg would talk these through with you. In addition, it is likely individual therapy might be offered to the young person and at times family therapy may be recommended, so everyone learns strategies to manage the symptoms. It is well worth getting an assessment and treatment for ADHD. Often families worry medication, if indicated, will change the young person’s personality or take their spark away, but this should not happen with the right medication. Treatment helps the young person function better and achieve to the levels they are capable of.