Signs and Symptoms

The hallmark symptoms of ADHD may include:

  • Inattention - The child has difficulty sustaining attention, listening, and attending to detail and may be distractible and forgetful. He/she may have poor organization and study skills.
  • Impulsivity - The child may blurt out answers, have difficulty waiting, interrupt or intrude on others.
  • Hyperactivity - The child seems to be in constant motion. She/he may fidget, squirm, talk excessively, or run or climb excessively.

When to Seek Professional Help

You should seek professional help and guidance for your child when the child’s symptoms and behaviors:

  • Interfere with his/her functioning
  • Are present in more than one setting (such as home, school, or social settings)
  • Have lasted for more than six months
  • Include other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety or depression

How ADHD is Treated

A number of treatment methods have proven effective. These include:

  • Several approved medications
  • Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapies
  • Skills training, including organizational skills
  • Social skills groups
  • Specialized academic support

Medication, if recommended, must be prescribed and monitored by a physician. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have special training in this area. They may also have information about other treatment options and local resources. Visit the AACAP website to find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in your area.

The Risks of Not Treating a Child with ADHD

Undetected or untreated ADHD can lead to:

  • Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Poor self-esteem and low confidence
  • Poor grades, increased school discipline action, and decreased learning and satisfaction in school
  • Difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Strained family relationships
  • Lack of attention to learning disorders, which are often present with ADHD
  • Increased thrill-seeking behavior, such as drug and alcohol abuse

More Information

For more information and a list of related articles, visit the Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder page of our A-Z Disorder Guide.