What is it?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It affects between 0.5-5% of UK children, and is more common in boys than girls.
Someone with ADHD will struggle in situations because they find it hard to concentrate for very long, can be easily distracted, fidget and complain of being bored with tasks they have been set. This causes problems in school because they might disrupt classes and get into trouble. At home, they might find it hard to remember and follow instructions, and can overreact to situations or throw temper tantrums. Some young people with ADHD find it difficult to sleep and it seems like they are constantly 'on the go'. It might seem that they don't stop to 'think before they act' which can make them impulsive and take risks.
ADHD is characterised by:
- Inattention - cannot listen or concentrate for long, cannot finish tasks, distractible, forgetful, disorganised
- Overactive - unable to sit still, fidgety, restless, running about most of the time, constantly talking, difficulties doing quiet activities
- Impulsive - unable to wait or take turns, speaking without thinking about the consequesnces, interrupting other people.
What should I do?
If you think this sounds familiar, go to your GP and ask them to refer you to CAMHS. It will help to speak to teachers to see if the behaviour is the same at school. Children with ADHD respond best to clear boundaries and consistent expectations, but this can be very difficult to maintain under the stress and strains of parenting.
It is important to do a full assessment to make sure there isn't another explanation for the behaviour, so a CAMHS worker will meet with the family and go through lots of questionnaires. These will also be sent to school so we can see if the behaviour is the same there as it is at home. There might be observations so we can see how things look outside of the clinic.
Sometimes we will recommend you complete a parenting course that is aimed at managing challenging behaviour in children. These are provided by the Parenting Services in Portsmouth and Southampton.
If it is felt that medication is necessary, this will be discussed with your clinician.