The Facts about ADHD

Kids can be impulsive. There are plenty of things they would rather be doing each day than sitting in a classroom, behaving in church, or getting together for some boring “adult” activity. That’s normal.

When that behavior begins to disrupt their schoolwork, and leads to trouble at home or with friends, it could be a case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is “one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood.” It’s something kids don’t normally outgrow, often lasting into adulthood.

With proper diagnosis, however, ADHD can be treated and controlled. 

ADHD History

The condition was first recognized by a Scottish doctor near the end of the 18th century. In 1902, Sir George Frederic Still talked about impulsive behavior in children of typical intelligence.

Hyperkinetic disease was described by two German doctors in 1932. The condition prevented children from sitting still in class and getting along with schoolmates. It started in children as young as 3 and peaked by the age of 6.

In 1937, it was discovered that Benzedrine, a stimulant, caused a decrease in the patient’s hyperactivity. By 1954, Ritalin became the most widely used drug to treat children with ADHD.

By the Numbers

It is estimated that as many as 6 million children between 3 to 17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD. That includes:

  • 265,000 3 to 5 years old
  • 2.4 million 6 to 11 years old
  • 3.3 million 12 to 17 years old

Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. Black non-Hispanic children, and White non-Hispanic children are most often diagnosed with ADHD — 12% and 10% respectively — compared with Hispanic children (8%) or Asian non-Hispanic children (3%).

The number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased steadily each year.

Potential Symptoms

Many children will have problems focusing. That doesn’t mean they have ADHD. However, it’s important to look out for:

  • Daydreaming
  • Forgetfulness
  • Losing things
  • Fidgeting
  • Being overly chatty
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Carelessness
  • Exceedingly poor impulse control
  • Difficulty taking turns
  • Difficulty getting along with others
  • Difficulty keeping their grades up. 

Causes and Risk Factors

Researchers continue to look for the exact causes of ADHD. Some factors they have identified include:

  • Genetics — Studies show it may run in families.
  • Environment — Environmental factors, such as lead exposure, may increase risk.
  • Development issues — Problems with the nervous system during key moments of childhood development could be a factor.
  • Exposure to environmental factors during pregnancy — Exposure to smoke, alcohol, or  drugs during pregnancy could be a risk factor.
  • Premature birth — This could be another risk factor.

Coexisting Conditions

ADHD can be extremely frustrating, especially if it isn’t diagnosed until adulthood. Dealing with the forgetfulness, inattentiveness, poor performance at school, work, or in relationships, can lead to the development of other conditions. These include:

  • Mood disorders — Depression and bipolar disorder are common. They are not directly tied to ADHD but could be related due to a repeated pattern of failures and frustrations that result from ADHD.
  • Anxiety disorders — Anxiety can become amplified because of the challenges of ADHD.
  • Learning disabilities — Adults with ADHD could score lower on academic testing and may have greater difficulty with understanding and communicating.
  • Other disorders — Personality disorders and substance use disorders pose a greater risk because of undiagnosed or untreated ADHD.

Here to Help

ADHD is common and there are treatments for children AND adults. If you believe you or a loved one might have symptoms of ADHD, AltaMed has skilled pediatricians and behavioral health professionals who can help. Also, AltaMed at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has pediatricians that specialize in developmental and behavioral diagnoses that could assist your child or adolescent. Call us at (323) 669-2113.

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Bullying Happens. Here's How to Stop It.

It’s unfortunate, but we have all experienced bullying at least once in our life or know someone who has. With every new generation, bullying continues, and only it’s gotten more complex.

Physical attacks have given way to cyberbullying which cause emotional trauma that can be spread to hundreds, thousands, if not millions of people. The new ways in which children and adolescents— and even adults — can be bullied, may be one of the reasons National Bullying Awareness Month is such a relatively new thing.


Bullying Awareness Month was started as a week-long awareness campaign by the Minnesota-based PACER Center, a resource for children with disabilities and their parents. In 2010, it became a month-long event designed to provide information to educators, students, families, and individuals about ways to stop bullying and promote acceptance and kindness.

For years bullying has been seen as a childhood “rite of passage.” The reality is it can be devastating, leaving emotional scars, diminished self-esteem, and long-term psychological damage.


Bullying by the Numbers

PACER has amassed a staggering collection of statistics about bullying that include frequency, bullying by gender, victims’ gender, age, location, type of bullying, etc. Some particularly striking numbers include: 

  • One of every five students report being bullied
  • 6% of male students report being physically bullied versus 4% of female students
  • 18% of female students report being subjects of rumors versus 9% of male students
  • 7% of female students report being excluded from activities versus 4% of male students
  • 41% of students who reported bullying at school think it will happen again
  • A slightly higher percentage of female students (24%) report being bullied at school compared to male students (17%)

Results of Bullying

Bullying is a threat to student health, safety, and well-being. It also affects a student’s ability to learn and succeed. It even has negative effects on the bullies themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bullied students most often experience low self-esteem and isolation. They perform poorly in school and can have physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or problems sleeping. They can also experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Witnesses to bullying also suffer. They are more likely to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, have mental health problems, and miss or skip school.

Bullies have been shown to be at increased risk for substance abuse, academic problems, and violence in late adolescence and adulthood. Bullies who are also bullied are at the greatest risk for behavioral and mental health problems.

Why Do People Bully?

Children who bully others want control. Bullies won’t stop because they like that feeling of power or control. They realize they are stronger than someone else, so they exploit that power.

The power comes from:

  • Being more assertive or confident
  • Being bigger or more physically capable
  • Having greater numbers
  • Having greater social status
  • Being more manipulative

How to Stop Bullying

Ask your children if they have experienced or witnessed bullying. It can be difficult to admit being a victim or bystander, which is why it’s important to create a safe space. If you learn something troubling, alert school faculty as soon as possible.

Peer support is also a strong deterrent to bullying. Nearly 60% of all bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes. However, that happens less than 20% of the time.

Student bystanders are often aware of bullying situations long before the adults know what’s going on. That’s why it’s essential that they feel encouraged and empowered to intervene, and such behavior should be rewarded. Help your child understand how and when to say something.

Finally, schools can teach the proper ways to intervene and offer resources supporting that behavior. When these tools are available, bullying drops.

Resources Beyond Health Care

AltaMed helps in the community with access to resources that go beyond health care workers. Our licensed social workers speak English and Spanish and can connect you with resources to help you start community improvement programs.

Call us today at (855) 425-1777 to learn more about our services.

Children Playing Soccer

Avoiding and Treating Sports-Related Injuries

Summer is here and you want to make the most of your time in the sunshine. There are games to play, fun to have, and activities abound.

Kids and adults participate in different summer leagues, but there are also lots of opportunities for pickup sports — soccer, softball, basketball — and activities in general — hiking, swimming, and biking.

Stretch Before Starting

Just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean your body is warmed up for whatever activity you have in mind. You need to stretch your muscles before any activity if you’re not already a regular athlete. Stretching helps prevent muscle strains and sprains which can potentially sideline you, forcing you to miss big chunks of your summer.

Boy Playing Baseball

Get Equipped

Some activities require special safety equipment. Activities like baseball, softball, biking, and skateboarding should be done with helmets worn to protect your head. Mouthguards provide extra protection for baseball and skateboarding.

Shoes can be important for safety. Cleats for baseball, softball, soccer, or football will give you better traction and keep you from sliding around on the field. Wearing shoes with ankle support will help you playing basketball or volleyball. You also want to wear durable shoes or hiking boots if going on a walk over rugged terrain.

Be sure to wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Also, never swim alone; be sure there is a lifeguard on duty or go with a friend.

Rest, Recharge and Refuel

When you were a kid, it seemed like you could go all day, every day and never need a break. But even if you feel that way today, or your kids insist they can keep going, it’s good to work in time to rest.

You’re expending valuable energy regardless of the activity. Overdoing it can lead to a potential injury from overuse.

Make sure you refuel with a snack such as fruit. And be sure to drink plenty of water. Energy and sports drinks may be okay when you’re recovering from a workout, but nothing beats water when you’re in the middle of an activity. It will keep you from dehydrating and overheating.

Listen to Your Body

There is nothing wrong with taking a break from the action, especially if you’re starting to feel your muscles get tight, or you start feeling pain or swelling in your joints.

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know you might need to stop. Heed those warnings. Failure to do so could lead to a more serious injury that could require a trip to the doctor or the emergency room.

Baskeball Teacher

Treating Injury When It Occurs

Despite your best efforts, it’s likely you or someone close to you will end up bruised, scraped, sprained, or even with a concussion from playing sports. Here’s what you should do in each situation.

  • Bruising — The most common happens to soft tissue. It changes color, there’s some swelling, and it’s painful to touch. These take time to heal. Rest whenever possible. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time several times a day. Wrap the area to reduce swelling and elevate the bruised area above your heart.
  • Cuts and scrapes — Make sure whoever treats the area has clean hands to keep from spreading infection. Apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Clean the wound with running water and clean the area around the wound with soap. Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to help prevent scarring then cover the wound with a bandage or clean gauze. Change the dressing daily and get a tetanus shot if the wound is deep or was dirty and it’s been at least five years since your last shot. See a doctor if you see redness, swelling, drainage or feel increased pain.
  • Sprains and strains — Sprains are injuries to tissue connecting bones. Strains are injuries to the muscle or the tissue connecting muscle to bone. Sprains are most common in your ankle, wrist, knee, or thumb. It’s important to ice the affected area, elevate it, and wrap it to reduce swelling. Most sprains take time. Severe sprains may require surgery if ligaments are torn.
  • Concussion — This is an injury to your brain that will require some rest. That means limiting video gaming, watching TV, texting, reading, homework, or using a computer. After 48 hours you can slowly increase your daily activities if they don’t cause any symptoms like dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, or nosebleeds. See a doctor if these conditions persist.

See Us with Any Questions

The experienced physicians and medical staff at AltaMed are familiar with sports injuries and know how to get you back on your feet and into the fun. It starts by developing a good relationship with your primary care physician. Call (888) 499-9303 for information or to make an appointment.

The Facts about ADHD