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Nearly all kids struggle to control themselves at times. It’s normal for children to become distracted, restless or impatient. But for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescents and teens, it’s more than an occasional issue. Frequent and persistent symptoms of inattention, impulsivity or hyperactivity can affect their ability to lead normal lives.
At Mercy, we help children and families manage ADHD symptoms to reduce their impact on daily life.
More than 9% of U.S. children ages 2-17 have ADHD – a neurological (or brain) disorder that makes it hard for kids to control their behavior. ADHD affects the part of the brain that helps children pay attention, make decisions, plan and organize. As a result, ADHD often affects a child’s performance in school.
Although it begins in childhood, ADHD often continues into adulthood. But the condition is manageable with help from Mercy’s pediatricians and pediatric behavioral health providers.
In children with ADHD, the prefrontal cortex (forehead region) of the brain – the last part of the brain to develop in all people – can be even slower to mature. This results in decreased levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a crucial role in regulating attention, behavior and emotion.
Other factors that can contribute to ADHD in children include:
While it’s true some kids with ADHD are more sensitive to sugar, refined flour, food dyes and other dietary substances, these nutritional factors don’t actually cause ADHD.
ADHD has three groups of behavior symptoms: inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Children with ADHD may not have all the symptoms or experience them the same way. However, symptoms typically occur for more than 6 months and happen in 2 or more settings, such as home, school and/or social situations.
Inattention symptoms in child ADHD are associated with behaviors that include:
Children who are hyperactive may show these behaviors:
These behaviors may be symptoms of impulsivity:
If your child is experiencing ADHD symptoms, it can be overwhelming. Mercy's behavioral health experts are here to help.
Learn about diagnosis & treatment options for child ADHD
At Mercy, we offer comprehensive pediatric behavioral health screening services to diagnose ADHD and other mental health conditions, including:
At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of pediatric mental health treatment services, including: