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South Carolina Medicaid: Managing ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)1 is a common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. A child with ADHD may have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behaviors, act without thinking about results, and/or be overly active.
Parents talk to young son outside on bench

Signs and symptoms

According to the CDC, children with ADHD may:

  • Daydream a lot
  • Forget or lose things a lot
  • Have a hard time resisting temptation
  • Have difficulty at school, at home, or with friends
  • Have severe symptoms
  • Have trouble taking turns
  • Make careless mistakes
  • Squirm or fidget
  • Take unnecessary risks
  • Talk too much


Diagnosing ADHD in a child can include:

  • A checklist for rating ADHD symptoms
  • A medical exam, including hearing and vision tests
  • Taking a history of the child from parents, teachers, and sometimes the child

Causes of ADHD

According to the CDC, there is no one reason why a child or adult develops ADHD. Possible causes may include:

  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Brain injury
  • Exposure to environmental (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age
  • Genetics
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature delivery

Scientists do not believe that ADHD is caused by:

  • Eating too much sugar
  • Parenting
  • Social and environmental factors (e.g., poverty or family chaos)
  • Watching too much television


For preschool-aged children (4-5 years of age) with ADHD, the CDC recommends:

  • Behavior therapy
  • Training for parents and caregivers
  • Medication, if all else fails

Good treatment plans include:

  • Close monitoring
  • Follow-ups with your child’s doctor
  • Lifestyle changes

Each child is different. What works for one child, may not work for another child.

Managing symptoms

Managing ADHD symptoms is important. A child’s health and well-being can affect how severe symptoms are. Being healthy:

  • Is important for all children
  • Can especially be important for children with ADHD

Behavioral therapy and medication can help children manage ADHD symptoms, as can healthy behaviors, including:

Your child’s doctor can talk to you about how to help manage ADHD symptoms.

More Information

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