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ADHD or Just Hyperactive?


"My six-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD, but I'm not sure she has all the traits. She can pay attention and gets very good grades - she just cannot sit still in class. Is there such a thing as just "hyperactivity disorder"?

Dr. Larry Silver M.D. is the author of two books about parenting ADHD/LD children.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recognizes three subtypes of ADHD: primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive, and combined type. ADHD cannot be the diagnosis if the only behavior is hyperactivity, especially if the hyperactivity occurs during specific situations. If she's only hyperactive during class, this might be due to anxiety, or perhaps she's not being challenged by the work and gets bored. I'd discuss your concern with the doctor, and look for other causes of the hyperactivity.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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