ADHD Treatment

Effective Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Over five million children in the United States today have been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and individual children may exhibit varying symptoms and have different treatment needs. At Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center, we will work with you to develop the most effective treatment plan for your child.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood. Most children have difficulty paying attention and sitting still sometimes. In the case of ADHD, these difficulties occur on such a frequent basis that they harm a child's performance and behavior in school, home, and other settings. In many cases, symptoms of ADHD continue into adulthood.

What Are Risk Factors for ADHD?

  • Having a close relative diagnosed with ADHD
  • Having a close relative diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • Being born prematurely
  • Prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol
  • Being exposed to toxins in the environment, especially lead

What Are the Three Major Types of ADHD and The Symptoms of Each Type?

Symptoms of ADHD are generally present before the age of 12. The criteria outlined in the DSM-5 state that a child must exhibit at least six symptoms of a given type to qualify for a diagnosis, and a 17 or older person must display at least five signs. The presentation of ADHD can change as a person gets older, and it is possible to show one type in childhood and a different type as an adult.

The three types are:

Predominantly Inattentive Type

  • Makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details
  • Attention wanders easily, often appears not to be listening
  • Struggles to sustain attention on a given task
  • Exhibits difficulties with organization
  • Often loses items
  • Avoids tasks that require sustained attention
  • Easily distracted by external stimuli
  • Forgetful
  • Fails to follow directions, especially when given multiple steps at once

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

  • Has difficulty remaining seated and sitting still
  • Runs or climbs excessively (children); very restless (adults)
  • Struggles to stay quiet when expected to do so
  • Acts as if or feels as if driven by a motor
  • Very talkative
  • Blurts out answers and interrupts when others are talking
  • Difficulty taking turns

Combined Type

This diagnosis is appropriate when a person exhibits a combination of symptoms from both types.

How is ADHD Diagnosed in Children?

There is no single diagnostic test for ADHD. A comprehensive evaluation focused on a person's academic, social, and emotional functioning is necessary to determine whether ADHD is the most appropriate diagnosis. A developmental history, physical examination, and behavioral checklists are standard components of an evaluation for ADHD. Other conditions, including anxiety and depression, can present with similar symptoms or co-exist with ADHD, so it is essential to include trained professionals in the diagnostic process. Computerized testing (CPT) is also available to measure attention span and impulse control for age and gender.

How is ADHD Treated in Children?

Successful ADHD treatment for children often involves a combination of medication, counseling, and behavioral therapy. Training for parents can also be a part of a treatment plan, especially for younger children. Stimulant medications are commonly prescribed for ADHD. However, there are also non-stimulant options.

When Should Your Child See a Psychiatrist for ADHD?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Psychiatrists have the experience to differentiate between closely related mental health disorders and often work in conjunction with psychologists and other therapists to develop comprehensive treatment plans. Another advantage to seeing a psychiatrist is that they can prescribe and manage medications. Although psychiatrists focus mostly on mental health conditions, they also consider and sometimes treat other medical conditions. They are knowledgeable about treatment options and each option's benefits and risks.

Saint Sophie’s Offers Diagnosis and Treatment for ADHD

At Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center, our caring professionals can work with you to determine whether ADHD is an appropriate diagnosis for your child and develop a plan for successful treatment. We have both medical and behavioral health professionals on staff who offer various patient services, including psychotherapy and counseling, diagnosis and medication management.

To learn more about how we can help, submit a contact form or call us at (701) 365-4488 today.

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