Information for Preteens: Body Science,
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Between 4% and 8% of children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), though it is more common in boys. Kids with ADHD might shout out answers without raising their hand, lose things, interrupt people, or fidget and move around a lot.
Types of ADHD
- Inattentive: People with inattentive ADHD have a hard time paying attention for long periods of time. They often don't listen to instructions, can be disorganized and forgetful, and may have trouble being careful on homework.
- Hyperactive-impulsive: People with hyperactive ADHD have trouble staying seated and can be impatient. They are often squirmy, constantly moving, or fidgeting. They might talk a lot and interrupt people or blurt out answers.
- Combination: People with combination ADHD have a combination of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive. Combination ADHD is the most common type in both kids and adults.
ADHD is also associated with anxiety and depression, two other common childhood troubles. People with ADHD may also have a learning disorder such as dyslexia (where words look jumbled together so the person has trouble reading and writing) or problems with neat handwriting, among other conditions.
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How is ADHD diagnosed?
ADHD symptoms can range from barely noticeable to very severe, and it is not always easy to tell if someone has ADHD. ADHD should be diagnosed by a doctor or someone who specializes in mental health.
Usually, kids are diagnosed with the problem between ages 6 and 12, when it starts to affect schoolwork and studying. It is not usually diagnosed in preschool kids – it is normal for them to act inattentive and squirmy, so it's hard to tell what's normal and what's ADHD.
Before a doctor decides that an older child has ADHD, however, he or she will make sure that the symptoms were present before age 7.
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What causes ADHD?
Most researchers think ADHD is genetic (runs in families). It might also be related to drugs, smoking, or alcohol use when the mother is pregnant – although this has not been confirmed.
ADHD may also be connected to abnormal activity of two brain chemicals called dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals control concentration and activity.
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How is ADHD treated?
There is no "cure" for ADHD, but it can be controlled. Treatment is generally considered if symptoms affect daily living or school work. People with ADHD may take certain medicines or get therapy or counseling.
If you think you have ADHD, talk to your parents. A doctor can help make a diagnosis. Though the idea of ADHD might seem scary, remember that lots of kids have ADHD and that it can be controlled with treatment.
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high school student writer
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), National Institute of Mental Health.
CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Help for ADHD, National Resource Center on AD/HD.
For More Information:
See our ADHD in Children article.
See our Teens & ADHD article.
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013