ADHD appears to have strong genetic component
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal UClick
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 5:47 AM
Dear Doctor K: I think my son may have ADHD. What should I be looking for?
Dear Reader: Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can interfere with schoolwork, with friendships and socializing, and complicate the relationship between children and their parents. Kids with ADHD have inattention (inability to pay attention), hyperactivity (always being on the move) and impulsive behavior (acting without self-control).
The first step toward figuring out if your child has ADHD is to carefully observe your child's behavior at home and in other settings. Look for signs of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Symptoms usually start before age 7. Ask your son's teachers if they see these behaviors in the classroom.
Specific signs to look for are inattention: makes careless mistakes; fails to finish tasks and is easily distracted.
Hyperactivity: fidgets or squirms; cannot remain seated; acts as if "driven by a motor"; impulsivity; acts without thinking and has difficulty waiting his or her turn
If you suspect your child has ADHD, talk to your pediatrician. There is no single test for ADHD. The diagnosis will be based on information about your child's behavior provided by you and your child, your child's school and other caregivers. The doctor will also perform a physical exam to make sure that another condition is not affecting your son's behavior.
There is no cure for ADHD, but a combination of medication and behavior therapy definitely can help your child focus his thoughts and control his behavior. In some cases, your child's school will provide special services to facilitate your child's learning.
What causes ADHD is hotly debated. There clearly are genetic causes: The disorder runs in families. Sophisticated brain-imaging techniques also find measurable changes in the brains of kids with ADHD. This is a biological problem, not a problem of character.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106