Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Attention deficit disorder and its closely related cousin, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are neurological development disorders that strike mostly children. Some children with these disorders can be challenging to deal with, and in the past, these disorders were overlooked or classified as "bad behavior." Now, however, doctors can properly recognize, diagnose, and prescribe therapies and medications for ADD and ADHD that will help you and your child manage his or her symptoms.

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What is ADHD, and How Does It Compare to ADD?

ADD and ADHD are subsets of the same type of illness and can have many of the same symptoms. A child displaying ADHD symptoms will be some or all of the following:

  • Inattentive and easily distracted, usually interfering with the ability to complete tasks
  • Easily frustrated, especially when trying to do difficult tasks
  • Lethargic
  • Disorganized
  • Forgetful
  • Hyperactive
  • Unable to control emotions or behavior

ADD symptoms are similar, but without the hyperactivity and volatile behavior that often come with ADHD.

Treatments for Attention Disorders

Both ADD treatment and ADHD treatment normally start by seeing your family doctor. If your doctor diagnoses your child as having an attention disorder, they may prescribe medication to help your child concentrate, especially in school. Medications for ADHD and ADD include Ritalin and Adderall – a medication developed in response to some negative reactions to Ritalin. Adderall helps to calm your child's brain from firing constantly and can help them concentrate on tasks better.

Depending on the severity of your child's symptoms, social therapy may also be beneficial to help them function more productively in school and in public environments.

Having an attention disorder can be extremely hard on a child, and its symptoms can be difficult for their parents, teachers and child care providers to properly address. Understanding and patience are needed in order for you to help your child manage their symptoms. It may help you to remember, in times of frustration, that your child does not mean to exhibit these behaviors and finds them as frustrating as you do. With help, however, your child can learn to function better with everyday activities and lead a perfectly normal life.