ADHD in Children


This article was previously published in Banzai Magazine and

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ADHD in Children

By Sabeen Faquir

According to the CDC, it is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. Children with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. In Florida, 11.1-13% of youth aged 4-17 were diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. If you think your child may have ADHD look for the following symptoms which cause difficulty at school or at home or with friends:

-daydream a lot

-forget or lose things a lot

-squirm or fidget

-talk too much

-make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks

-have a hard time resisting temptation

-have trouble taking turns

-have difficulty getting along with others (CDC, 2015).

There are 3 different types of ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and Combined Presentation. Scientists are studying causes and risk factors for ADHD and in addition to genetics, scientists postulate other possible causes and risk factors including:

  • Brain injury
  • Environmental exposures
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

Some additional environmental factors are food additives/diet, lead contamination, cigarette and alcohol exposure (Banerjee et al). Those with ADHD also have likelihood for comorbidity with conduct, mood, and anxiety disorders. There are also familial risk factors like higher risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antisocial disorders, major depressive disorder, substance dependence, and anxiety disorders in those with family members with ADHD. (Biederman et al). “Family studies have identified a 2- to 8-fold increase in the risk for ADHD in parents and siblings of children with ADHD,” (Banerjee et al). There is no single test to diagnose ADHD.  One step of the process involves having a medical exam in addition to hearing and vision tests to rule out other problems with symptoms like ADHD.

In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of stimulant medication and behavior therapy (Fernandez de la Cruz et al). Some of the most commonly prescribed medications are methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, and dexmethylphenidate (Rodriguez, 2015). If you or your doctor has concerns about ADHD, you can take your child to a specialist like a child psychologist or developmental pediatrician.  You can also contact your local early intervention agency for children under 3 or public school for children 3 and older.

Alternative treatments to traditional medication also exist.  Some doctors recommend omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, L-carnitine, vitamin B6, magnesium, or DMAE. It was found that the inattentive subtype ADHD responded well to omega 3/6 supplementation.  In a study, they administered omega 3/6 supplements to 75 children and adolescents and performed a randomized placebo-control trial for 3 months. Then, all subjects received omega 3/6 supplements for the following 3 months.  It was discovered that at the 3 month mark, a subgroup of 26% responded with more than 25% reduction of ADHD symptoms. After 6 months, 47% of all showed such improvement. The inattentive subtype that responded well to omega- 3 treatment also had neurodevelopmental comorbidities (Johnson et al).

Disclaimer: The content of this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). accessed 5/31/15

Joseph Biederman, MD; Stephen V. Faraone, PhD; Kate Keenan; Jonathan Benjamin, MD; Belinda Krifcher; Cindy Moore; Susan Sprich-Buckminster; Karen Ugaglia; Michael S. Jellinek, MD; Ronald Steingard, MD; Thomas Spencer, MD; Dennis Norman, EdD; Roselyn Kolodny, MD; Ilana Kraus, MD; James Perrin, MD; Martin B. Keller, MD; Ming T. Tsuang, MD, PhD, DSc. Further Evidence for Family-Genetic Risk Factors in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Patterns of Comorbidity in Probands and Relatives in Psychiatrically and Pediatrically Referred Samples. Archives of General Psychiatry. 1992;49(9):728-738.

Tania Das Banerjee, Frank Middleton and Stephen V. Faraone. Environmental risk factors for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Acta Paediatrica. Volume 96, Issue 9, pages 1269–1274, September 2007

Lorena Fernández de la Cruz, Emily Simonoff, MD; James J. McGough, MD; Jeffrey M. Halperin, PhD; L. Eugene Arnold, MD, Med; Argyris Stringaris, MD, PhD, MRCPsych. Treatment of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Irritability: Results From the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD (MTA). Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. January 2015 Volume 54, Issue 1, Pages 62–70.

Diana Rodriguez. Medications to Treat ADHD. Everyday Health. Accessed 6/1/2015

Mats Johnson, M.D.; Sven Östlund, B.A.; Gunnar Fransson, B.A.; Björn Kadesjö, M.D.; Christopher Gillberg, M.D., Ph.D. Omega-3/Omega-6 Fatty Acids for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial in Children and Adolescents. Journal of Attention Disorders April 30, 2008.