Children and adolescents can have symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, lack of concentration, impulsivity, etc.
Many a times, children experience some amount of inattentiveness and hyperactivity in the context of normal development .
However, when these symptoms become severe, excessive, persistent, seen across multiple situations of classroom setting , home setting , social setting, etc and the child is experiencing problems in his academics and social functioning because of these symptoms, then the child may be having a disorder called ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
- Children can have an Inattentive Type of ADHD where inattentiveness is the main symptom or they can have Hyperactive - Impulsive Type of ADHD where excessive hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors are the main symptoms or they can have Combined Type of ADHD which has all features of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is found in both boys and girls, but reported to be more common in boys than in girls.
- There are standard clinical criteria in psychiatry classification systems such as DSM-V and ICD- 10 for diagnosing ADHD which are used by psychiatrists in evaluating whether your child is just experiencing some symptoms or a full blown disorder based on symptoms, settings, severity, developmental age, etc. There are clinical rating scales which may be used to for additional assessments and plan interventions accordingly.
- ADHD can lead to problems in academics and education as the child faces significant problem in focusing in the classroom, paying attention, gets distracted easily while studying and hence it can reflect in day to day school work and even affect his or her performance in exams.
- A child with ADHD can also have problems in social behavior because of inability to sit in one place and impulsivity in behavior and can appear disruptive in classrooms. They can also have problems with their peers and can have problems in friendships because of their impulsivity, hyperactivity and behavioral overlay.
The psychiatrist may refer your child for a Neurologist consultation, preferably a Pediatric Neurologist if there are any neurological signs and symptoms in the child as per clinical expertise to rule out any neurological conditions which can have symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity etc. Certain conditions like seizures and nutritional deficiencies can have inattentiveness and hyperactivity as symptoms which may need to be evaluated.
Multidisciplinary approaches comprising of child and adolescent psychiatry, pediatric neurology, child psychology, OT and educational liasion are useful for comprehensive assessment and holistic management of the child with ADHD.