When to Seek Help for ADHD

If you think your child might have ADHD, don’t delay seeing a professional for a diagnosis. Seek help as soon as possible.



Some parents might feel hesitant to seek professional help if they notice their child displaying apparent symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity because they might think these symptoms are just the expected behaviour of young children.


However, it is always better to err on the safe side, so if you do suspect your child might have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seek help as soon as possible.


As Dr Penny Tok, chartered child psychologist from Dr Penny Tok Psychology Practice advises, “Even if the child is too young for a diagnosis or if parents are hesitant, get some help first and worry about a diagnosis later […]”


If you’re still unsure of when to seek professional help, Jeanie Chu, clinical psychologist from The Resilienz Clinic provides this general rule of thumb: the signs and symptoms displayed by your child should have “persisted for some time {e.g. over a few months or in a semester) in the various settings (e.g. at home, in school and during play) and are impacting [his] functioning”. “More often than not, these are usually apparent in classrooms, and would be reported by teachers, and might be reflected in the child’s academic performances,” says Chu.



There are several treatments available for children with ADHD, one of them being medications. “Currently, two main types of medications are available: stimulants and norepinephrine uptake inhibitors. They help ADHD by increasing the level of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine,” explains Dr Lim Boon Leng, psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness.


Another treatment option for children with ADHD is behavioural therapy. “It encompasses reinforcement of desired behaviours through praises and rewards, and decreasing problematic behaviours by setting limits and consequences,” says Chu.



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