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Dr. Vijayakumar D.R MBBS, DPM, DNB (NIMHANS), CCST (UK)
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Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the most common emotional, cognitive and behavioural disorder treated in youth. . It is associated with higher degree of psychiatric morbidity in adulthood. It affects 4% to 7% of children worldwide. New research indicates that it can persist into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

A. Symptoms of inattention like

  1. Often fails to give attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work , work or other activities
  2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  3. Often does not seem to listen to when spoken to directly
  4. Often does not follow through on instructions
  5. Fails to finish schoolwork chores or duties in the work place
  6. Often has difficulty in organizing tasks or activities
  7. Often avoids , dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  8. Often loses things  ( pencils, toys, books etc)
  9. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  10. Is often forgetful in daily activities


B. Symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsivity

  1. Often fidgety with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  2. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
  3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate


Often has difficulty in playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly

Is often on the go or often acts like as if driven by a motor

Often talks excessively



  1. Often blurts out answers even before the question is completed
  2. Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  3. Often interrupts or intrudes on others

Some of the above symptoms should be present before the age of 7 yrs

Symptoms can be present in home and or in school

Impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning


What are the causes of ADHD?

The cause for ADHD is multifactorial

  1. Physical conditions; pregnancy and delivery complications, cigarette and alcohol exposure in the womb, lead exposure, medications, neurological conditions can be associated with ADHD
  2. Family conflict, adverse family environment, decreased family cohesion can predispose to ADHD
  3. ADHD is highly genetic and can run in the family


Do ADHD symptoms reduce with age?

The earlier literature suggests that the hyperactivity component can reduce with age. New research suggests that the attention deficit part can persist into adulthood leading to impairment in socio occupational function. New research suggests a new terminology called adult ADHD.

Children with ADHD are more prone to suffer from conduct disorder, increased chances of substance use and having attention deficits in adulthood. Hence it is always advisable to seek help from a professional when symptoms of ADHD are noticed.


What is the treatment for ADHD?

ADHD can be treated with medications and Behaviour therapy.

For mild to moderate cases behaviour therapy can be considered. It is to be noticed that behaviour therapy is a long process and the parents should have a lot of motivation and patience to implement the therapy.

For moderate to severe ADHD many medications like stimulants like methyl phenydate are available which can help your child. It is advisable to have a detailed discussion with your doctor about the side effect profile of theses medication and then to take an informed decision.