ADHD Guideline Changes Provide Flexibility in Diagnosis

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder after toddler years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) As the US diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases and treatment options expand, the US prioritization of diagnosis is rising on the everyday pediatrician’s watch list. A recent change in policy allows doctors to identify and treat children more effectively even before they enter kindergarten and until they are ready for college.

Since 2000, The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended exploring symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the diagnosis of children between ages six and twelve. However new guidelines released suggest pediatricians should consider treatment of ADHD starting as early as age four, and continuing until legal adulthood.

"Speak to your physician if your child exhibits signs of ADHD."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, within the United States anywhere from three to seven percent of school-aged children currently have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This number has increased over 20 percent in the four year period between 2003 and 2007, with higher rates among older teens than younger children.

Differences in treatment vary from patient to patient, largely depending on age and sex. Children over ten years of age are less likely prescribed medication, while boys are nearly three times more likely to take medication than girls.

Symptoms of hyperactivity in children include difficulty focusing, disorganization, inattentiveness, increased energy, procrastination and frequent shifts in conversation.

In an interview with, Dr. Susan Hubbard recommends to parents noticing signs of ADHD: “This is a discussion to have with your pediatrician in order that they may be diagnosed. There is not a test for this; it is a consultation with your pediatrician. There is both medication and behavioral modification that is recommended for the symptoms of ADHD.”

The CDC additionally reports that children with ADHD have three times the likelihood of reporting peer problems, higher prevalence of minor and major injuries, and a higher involvement in motor vehicle disturbances--all the more reason to consult a physician if noticing signs of ADHD in your child.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 9, 2011
Last Updated:
October 4, 2012