ADHD & Behavioral Issues

The pediatricians at Columbia Pediatrics in Long Beach, CA are experienced in helping children and families living with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) and other behavioral issues.

ADHD & Behavioral Issues Q & A

What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that begins in childhood and can continue throughout adolescence and adulthood.

For children with ADHD, levels of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity are greater than those in other children their age. ADHD can make it difficult for a child to do their best in school or to behave at home, school or other community settings. There are three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive, and impulsive, and a combined form.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

There is no single test that diagnoses ADHD. Evaluation for ADHD includes discussion of your concerns, examination of your child and use of rating scales or inventories of ADHD symptoms. The doctor will collect information from the parents, the child and the child’s teacher(s) as part of the evaluation.  Also, if the child exhibits other symptoms or features in addition to symptoms of ADHD, your doctor may refer your child to an educational psychologist, behavioral psychologist, or a therapist to explore other co-existing conditions, such as learning disability or other behavior disorders.

How is ADHD treated?

Children with ADHD can improve with treatment. The three basic types of treatment are:
1. Medication- The most common type of medication used is a stimulant. Close monitoring by your doctor will find the best medication and dose for your child.
2. Therapy- Behavioral therapy can teach children to control their behavior at school and home. People with ADHD sometimes have coexisting conditions like anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder. These conditions may require a different type of therapy.
3.Medication and therapy combined- Many children will do best with a combination of medication and therapy.

What other behavior issues are common in children?

Other behavioral disorders in children include autism, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder, although the last is rarely diagnosed. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there is a wide degree of variation in the way it affects people. The disorder can make it difficult for a child to interact with their surroundings or build emotional connections with others.

When a child has anxiety, he or she may feel distressed, uneasy, or frightened for no apparent reason. OCD is characterized by compulsive, repeated behaviors or thoughts that can not seem to be stopped. Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense mood swings. It is often misdiagnosed as ADHD in children.

The pediatricians at Columbia Pediatrics will help children affected by any of these disorders by directing them to the appropriate specialists and the therapists. We will work closely with the specialists to ensure that the patients receive the best care.

How can a parent tell if a child’s behavior is abnormal?

Many of the behaviors associated with ADHD and other mental health disorders are normal attitudes and conduct as a child develops. However, if a child’s demeanor or activities are more than six months outside of what is considered normal, or if the behavior is disruptive to the family, professional assessment should be sought.

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