ADHD Awareness Month: Understanding the Disorder in Children and Adolescents

ADHD Awareness Month: Understanding the Disorder in Children and Adolescents

October is ADHD Awareness Month. The nationally recognized effort was established in 2004 to help bring knowledge and awareness to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to encourage compassion and understanding for those living with ADHD and their loved ones. An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults in the United States have ADHD.

The disorder impacts the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system, also known as a neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood. Children and adults affected with the condition can have trouble paying attention, sitting still, and controlling their impulses.

ADHD Symptoms

The defining symptoms of ADHD are divided into symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Some people struggle with only hyperactivity and sitting still, which is defined ADHD, hyperactive type.

Some people struggle with only attention and organization, this is defined as ADHD, inattentive type. When people struggle with both symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity, it is defined as the ADHD, combined type.

Diagnosing ADHD

In order for children to be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must appear before the age of 12 and have to continue for at least for 6 months. A child with ADHD often times struggles with classroom performance, maintaining relationships with similar aged kids, have trouble listening and also difficulty in playing quietly.

A diagnosis of ADHD is a multistep process. ADHD is assessed by a pediatrician or qualified behavioral health providers such as therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists. These providers obtain information from the parents, teachers, and other caregivers involved in the child’s care, in addition to their own observations of how a child functions during the visit. This is an important step in understanding ADHD. Once diagnosed, ADHD can be effectively treated through therapy and medications.

The precise cause of ADHD is unknown. Both biological and environment factors may play a role. ADHD seems to be genetic and run in families. Prematurity and prenatal exposures to smoking and alcohol can increase the risk of experiencing ADHD. Research does not support popular views that ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos.

If your child is experiencing difficulties with school performance, behavior problems, especially being able to sustain attention or focus, contact a Lone Star Circle of Care pediatrician to discuss a referral for an evaluation by one of our behavioral health providers. Call 877-800-5722 to schedule an appointment.

Blog post written by Suneela Cherlopalle, M.D., Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Lone Star Circle of Care at Round Rock Health Clinic – Behavioral Health


American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition. Arlington, VA., American Psychiatric Association, 2013

Faraone, S. V., Banaschewski, T., Coghill, D., Zheng, Y., Biederman, J., Bellgrove, M. A., . . . Wang, Y. (2021). The World Federation of ADHD International Consensus Statement: 208 evidence-based conclusions about the disorder. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.01.022