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New ADHD Guidelines Include Preschoolers, Older Teens
Date:10/17/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In new guidelines released Sunday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has expanded the age range for the diagnosis and treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to children as young as 4 and as old as 18.

For the youngest children, the academy is emphasizing the use of behavior treatments over medication in most cases.

"I think the most significant changes are expanding the ages from preschool through adolescence. The original guidelines were from 6 to 12, because that's where the evidence was. We've been able to broaden the scope of the guidelines because there was more evidence available for preschoolers and adolescents," said the lead author of the new recommendations, Dr. Mark Wolraich, CMRI Shaun Walters Professor of Pediatrics and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Wolraich added that the new guidelines also give pediatricians advice on managing inattention or hyperactivity problems that don't quite meet the definition of ADHD.

The new guidelines will be presented at the academy's annual meeting in Boston and will be published in the November issue of Pediatrics.

More than 5 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children with the disorder show signs of inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity. They may be unable to pay attention in class, or may spend a lot of time fidgeting in their seats or talking nonstop. Although most kids may display this type of behavior at one time or another, it becomes a problem when it occurs most of the time, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

Treatment for ADHD may include medications or behavior therapy, or both. In fact, Wolraich said that "the combina
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