October 17, 2011
The American Academy of Pediatrics this weekend expanded its guidelines for diagnosing and treating kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, recommending that doctors evaluate all patients age four to 18 that show signs of the condition.
The new guidelines update decade-old recommendations that focused on diagnosing and managing ADHD in kids age six to 12. But behavior problems, overactivity and trouble paying attention can show up earlier, researchers said, and ADHD often persists into adolescence or even adulthood.
Pediatricians should also look out for learning disabilities, anxiety and other issues that can go hand-in-hand with ADHD. And, they should tailor treatment with behavior therapy and medication based on kids’ age and severity of symptoms, says a statement published in Pediatrics.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between six and nine percent of kids and teens have ADHD, with rates higher in adolescents than younger kids.