Understanding ADHD | L.A. Care Health Plan

Understanding ADHD

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While there is no cure for ADHD, treatment can help improve symptoms. With time and help, persons with ADHD can lead a healthy and active life.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is when a person, often a child, has trouble paying attention or sitting still. If not treated, ADHD can cause problems at home, school, and with friends. The cause is not known, but it tends to run in families.

Treating ADHD

There is no cure for ADHD, but treatment can help manage symptoms. Treatment usually includes medication and behavior therapy.

Diagnosing ADHD

There is no single test to diagnose ADHD. The first step in finding out whether someone has ADHD is a thorough doctor exam. The exam will likely include: 

  • Health history 
  • Social and emotional health 
  • School history 
  • Physical exam 
  • Behavior checklist, filled out by the parents and teachers
Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD vary and can be hard to recognize. Common symptoms include:

  • Trouble paying attention or listening even when spoken to directly
  • Not being able to focus on one task or follow directions
  • Being easily distracted
  • Trouble sitting still for even a short time
  • Making careless mistakes or forgetting easily
  • Trouble keeping emotions in check or getting mad easily
  • Not finishing school work or chores
  • Daydreaming or being less involved than others

If this sounds like you or your child, talk to your doctor.

Medications

There are a lot of meds to treat ADHD. Your doctor will help find the one that works best for you/your child. Remember to:

  • Learn all you can about the meds your/your child is taking
  • Take meds as prescribed
  • Make sure your child’s school and other caregivers know how to give your child his/her meds
  • Refill meds on time so you don’t run out
  • Watch for changes in the way your child acts at home and in school
  • Keep track of side effects
Behavior Therapy

Helps a person with ADHD track and make changes to his or her behavior. Behavior therapy helps with:

  • Knowing why you/your child act in a certain way
  • Learning new ways to behave
  • Changing the way you/your child thinks