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April 15, 2014

Attention Deficit Disorders: Diagnosis and treatment

All of us, at times, feel fidgety or struggle to concentrate or restrain our impulses. Children with an Attention Deficit Disorder, with or without hyperactivity (ADHD), face these problems every day!

How do doctors diagnose ADHD?

In recent years, pediatricans and psychiatrists have established 3 main criteria for identifying ADHD. These are as follows:

  • Certain symptoms must be present before age 7
  • Symptoms must last at least 6 months
  • Symptoms must be present in all environments and in various circumstances (e.g. at home, in daycare, at school – even if varying in intensity).

Good to know!

ADHD is actually difficult to diagnose .

What are the main symptoms of ADHD?

Here are the 3 main symptoms (of varying intensity) of ADHD:

  1. Inattention (limited attention span, difficulty starting, ending or organizing a task, marked tendency to lose objects, distractibility when interacting with others, etc.)
  2. Hyperactivity (tendency to fidget constantly, squirm when seated, talk incessantly, run around when inappropriate, etc.)
  3. Impulsivity (tendency to blurt out answers before the question has been completed, difficulty awaiting turn, pronounced mood swings, etc.).

What are the treatment options for ADHD?

Once ADHD has been diagnosed, symptoms will most often be treated with a combination of:

  • specialized psychotherapy (counselling); and,
  • medication:
  • - methylphenidate (Ritalin®, Concerta®)
  • - amphetamine derivatives (Adderall®, Dexedrine®)
  • - non-stimulant medication, such as atomoxetine (Strattera®).

Pharmacy services

If you have questions or concerns about ADHD, talk to a health professional, like your pharmacist. He can point you in the right direction.


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