What is ADD?
ADD is defined as a mental disorder that affects brain function. Although it affects people of all ages, it's most often diagnosed during childhood, particularly before the age of 12. Symptoms include a long-term (six months or more) inability to pay attention or control impulsive behavior that has a negative effect on the home and school environment.
What is the difference between ADHD and ADD?
The "H" that is included in some ADD diagnoses made by your Kaufman pediatrician takes into account that some children will display hyperactive tendencies. These behaviors include restlessness, fidgeting, and difficulty waiting or remaining quiet. ADHD is clinically known as "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominately impulsive type." ADD's actual title is "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominately inattentive type." Many children display symptoms that are a combination of the two subtypes, giving them the diagnosis of ADHD, combined type.
What causes ADD?
The diagnosis of ADD can be due to a number of factors. Genetics is thought to play a big part in its development; the genes which regulate and transmit dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is associated with movement and emotions, are often involved in ADD. Environmental factors such as exposure to alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy can increase the likelihood that ADD will develop later. Children who have experienced a traumatic brain injury may also be at a higher risk for ADD.
How is ADD treated?
Typically, ADD is treated through counseling, medication, or a combination thereof. Counseling can not only help your child now, but the coping methods learned through therapy can help to prevent other issues, such as school failure and anxiety, from developing later. Medication usually consists of a daily stimulant that help to improve symptoms by encouraging the rest of the brain to "catch up" with the overactive dopamine receptors. ADD medication has been used for many years and is considered safe and effective. Working with your Kaufman pediatrician and being open to various treatments will help to manage your child's ADD effectively.