(ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill.) -- Guidelines to diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have been updated to include children as young as four.
ADHD, a condition that makes it difficult for children to focus and concentrate, initially covered youngsters between the ages of six and 12. But the American Academy of Pediatrics now says these rules should be expanded to include anyone from four to 18 because of more comprehensive research into understanding the condition.
Mark Wolraich, who chaired the committee presenting the latest findings, said it's important to evaluate four-year-olds because "these children may have been kicked out of preschool programs or they may have parents who are really getting angry at them much of the time."
Treatment for these children to reduce stress is first through behavioral therapy practiced by parents. If that fails, doctors may prescribe Ritalin -- the most common medication to deal with ADHD patients -- beginning with low doses.
ADHD affects as many as 8 percent of all children and adolescents in the U.S.
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