Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity

Inattention, Hyperactivity, and Impulsivity

It is not uncommon for children to exhibit inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, or hyperactivity at times. 3-5% of children exhibit frequent or severe symptoms that cause difficulties at home, school, and in relationships with peers.

When to Seek Help:

It may be time to consult a healthcare professional if your child is exhibiting the symptoms below:

  • Disruptive behavior at home, school, or other settings.
  • Problems with learning and keeping track of or completing assignments.
  • Difficulty with peers due to impulsivity.
  • Moodiness and Irritability.

In some cases, these symptoms can be caused by an underlying behavioral health condition. Conditions may include ADHD with inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity (or both), learning disorders, anxiety, or mood problems (such as depression) or substance use. A healthcare provider can assess whether a child’s behavior is within that expected for their age and determine whether symptoms may be a sign of ADHD or another underlying condition.

Upon Consultation, a Healthcare Provider May Take the Following Steps:
  • Ask caregivers and teachers to complete a rating scale (such as the Vanderbilt rating scales) to assess the child for ADHD. 
  • Provide guidance to help manage symptoms.
  • Discuss treatment options and side effects. 
  • Prescribe medication, if appropriate. 
  • Make a referral to a mental health provider for non-medication treatment, if appropriate.
  • Observe over time for improvement, worsening, and side effects.
Family Resources: