Written by: Dra. Pilar Gamazo Garrán
Published: | Updated: 18/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and how can we correctly identify it?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a psychiatric disorder of cerebral origin that is characterized by three groups of symptoms: symptoms of attention deficit, symptoms of impulsivity and symptoms of hyperactivity.. These symptoms have to be present in the child before 7 years of age, they must be maintained in time for at least 6 months, they must alter the functioning of the child at social, school and family level and should not be due to a stressful cause of the moment such as a divorce or a medical or psychiatric cause. How do we identify this disorder? It is important, when we have a suspicion of this disorder, to go to a specialist doctor. He will make the diagnosis, and the diagnosis is a purely clinical diagnosis. The child has to meet certain criteria to be able to make this diagnosis. There is currently no neuroimaging test, or any neuropsychological test that makes us the diagnosis, but these tools are used to confirm the diagnosis we have previously made in the clinical history or to finish configuring that diagnosis.


What can your family environment do to help a hyperactive child develop?

It is very important for a child with ADHD to evolve favorably so that the child's whole environment takes advantage of their treatment. So it is very important that as soon as the parents have a suspicion, they go to a specialist so that there is a good diagnosis, an early diagnosis and an adequate treatment.. And then the specialist will give some guidelines to both parents and school. Guidelines that depend on each particular case: neuropsychological guidelines, psychological guidelines, or guidelines on how to manage the child's behavior, and guidelines of course also if you need pharmacological treatment.


Can the disorder be treated?

Not only can it be treated, it must be treated. The treatment is a multidisciplinary treatment, individualized in each child and it is important to know that there has to be an intervention on the child, on the family and at the school level.. In relation to the child, pharmacological treatment has been shown to be very effective and then, depending on each individual case, a psychological treatment or psychopedagogical treatment will have to be done.. At the level of the family what is called psychoeducation is important, that is, that the family knows this disorder very well, knows the symptoms of this disorder, so that they can help the child. And they can help you by learning or training in behavior management techniques and knowing all those things that help the child with these problems learn and be able to better perform their school tasks. And at the school level it is also important that they know that the child has this disorder, in a general way, because in some cases it is necessary to make a methodological adaptation. In any case it is very important that there is always a very close communication between the family and the school.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Pilar Gamazo Garrán
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Pilar Gamazo is an expert in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, with more than ten years of experience. She has a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Valladolid, and a specialty in Psychiatry at the University Clinic of Navarra. Subsequently, he completed his training in child and adolescent psychiatry with a two-year stay in several hospitals in Great Britain. He currently works at the Institute of Applied Neurosciences in Education (INAE).

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients