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Focus on Attention Deficit Disorder

The start of the school year brings the end of the lazy, hazy days of summer and heralds the time to buckle down and focus. For students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), achieving that focus is very difficult.  We think of ADD as being a diagnosis that largely affects only academic achievement. The truth is that this diagnosis has many more far reaching consequences.

Broadly there are two major categories of ADD. The hyperactive form is more predominant in boys and involves more physical hyperactivity and impulsivity. The inattentive form is more prevalent in girls and this often goes undiagnosed as they are not disruptive and often labelled as “day dreamers”.

ADD impacts not only academic achievement but also the ability to socialize, organize and engage with others. Impulsivity also results in difficulties with addiction and risk-taking behaviour. As children get older, there is a greater association with other mental health illness. 85 percent of adults with ADD have another mental health condition with anxiety being the most predominant.  

Adults are increasingly being diagnosed with ADD. They are often diagnosed when their children undergo testing and they see some of the traits within themselves. ADD is often inherited and has a strong genetic component. Although there is significant improvement with treatment, there has been a lifetime of missed opportunities.

Early diagnosis is the key to preventing these other mental health conditions. If the diagnosis is suggested by your child’s treatment, see your health care provider. Due diligence with proper screening is then warranted. Treatment can make a world of difference if the diagnosis is appropriate. Pay attention to your child and help them pay attention. 


Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and proud grandmother of three! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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