With ADD/ADHD your child needs to have a combination of symptoms that interfere with daily activity in order for them to have ADD/ADHD. So, you shouldn't just look for one or two of any of these symptoms... you should be looking for quite a few of them... think of it as a whole picture that describes your child and then, not only that, but the picture must also negatively interfere in the child's daily activities, as many of the symptoms can describe any normal child... but, it is when the symptoms make life difficult for the child that you want to intervene to help the child function at the same level (or above, if you find that's the case after intervening!) as their peers as much as possible.
So... some of the symptoms:
- lack of persistence in activities that require cognitive involvement (cited from the ICD-10)
- tendency to move from one activity to another without completing any one (cited from the ICD-10)
- disorganized, ill-regulated, and excessive activity (cited from the ICD-10)
- reckless and impulsive (cited from the ICD-10)
- prone to accidents (cited from the ICD-10)
- Impairment of cognitive functions is common, and specific delays in motor and language development are disproportionately frequent. (cited from the ICD-10)
- inappropriate inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. (cited from the ICD-9-CM)
- Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork (the rest of this list is cited from the DSM-IV and a child needs AT LEAST 12 of these symptoms in order to be given a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD)
- Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Difficulty organizing tasks and activities (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork) (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Often loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or tools needed for tasks or activities (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Easily distracted (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Often forgetful in daily activities (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Difficulty playing quietly (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Often "on the go," acts as if "driven by a motor," talks excessively (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Difficulty awaiting turn (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
- Interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games) (in combination with 11 other symptoms)
I am 25 years old and have ADD. Accepting that I have ADD was one of the best things I did in life as far as my school work and career work went... and it also improved personal relationships in my life... my own symptoms (although adult symptoms usually include less of the hyperactive symptoms and focus mainly on the attention symptoms): difficulty finishing tasks, difficulty starting tasks, difficulty paying attention, losing my keys and other every-day-items, extremely inappropriately hyper and inattentive in large groups of people, i talk way too fast, i jump from subject to subject while talking.... <- some of my symptoms. Taking medication made it possible for me to get a college degree. Although, I also don't take ADD medication every day of my life (on advice from my doctor) either, only on school and work days.
Anyway. Just remember that ADD is a group of symptoms... not just one... so don't just look for any one symptom... you have to look for a whole picture of symptoms. If you felt like I was describing your child when I was talking about myself or when I was listing of the diagnostic criteria, and your child is struggling in school or in personal relationships, then I would strongly suggest going to your family doctor and discussing your concerns with both your child and your family doctor. And please remember to include your child in the discussions.... your child has to buy into the treatment plan for it to work most effectively.
If your child is struggling in school or personal relationships and you don't feel that I was describing your child when I was talking about myself or listing off the diagnostic criteria... that doesn't mean that your child can't still get help! There is lots of help out there for children who struggle with school work or who struggle with making friends! If you think there is a medical reason behind it, talk to your family doctor or a school counselor. If you think that it might just be because your child is being exactly how a child should be... then you could get him a tutor to help him with school work... and either counsel him yourself about friend issue or get him to talk to the school counselor.
Hope that helps! :)
I have an 8-yo boy who displays symptoms of ADHD. I have been reluctant to get him tested because I am deathly afraid to put him on a stimulant. The reason is I got terribly addicted to Adderall and it nearly cost me my family. I am afraid he will become addicted or his personality will change for the worse. I wouldn't take them because I could have his Dad control the possession and dosage of them. Besides, I wouldn't want to deprive him of his meds. I am just really scared of ANYONE taking these drugs. I also don't want him to suffer. Does anyone have an opinion on what I should do?
To turn it around the other way, what is it about your son that makes you think something is wrong with him?