Evaluation and Treatment of Pediatric ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common chronic psychiatric disorder in childhood that presents to primary care providers and mental health professionals. It is characterized by the inability to focus and sustain attention, modulate activity levels in a situation-appropriate manner, and moderate impulsive action. The three subtypes are inattentive, hyperactive-impulse, and combined ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can manifest as a pediatric condition that continues as the patient reaches adolescence and adulthood; data suggest that between 30% and 70% of children with ADHD continue to manifest symptoms in adulthood. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is also a public health concern because of the morbidity and disability associated with misdiagnosis and nontreatment. There can be significant financial costs associated with the disorder, as well as family dysfunction and impaired academic and vocational functions. Nurse practitioners (NPs) must become adept at evaluating and diagnosing ADHD, as well as understanding and prescribing the various treatment modalities available.