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ADHD in Toddlers

Abstract: Excessive crying and other symptoms for a toddler might be traits of ADHD. However, this link is not reliable.

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ADHD in Toddlers

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Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

What are typical symptoms of ADHD in Infancy? Is excessive crying a symptom of ADHD?


ADHD characteristics in the Infancy, Toddler and Preschool Stages

It is very difficult to make a proper diagnosis for very young children. Normal development has to be carefully evaluated. Most of the research has focussed on children with conduct problems and is mostly retrospective. But if a genetic predisposition or siblings with ADHD are present, the following symptoms might also be related to ADHD traits:

  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulties to be soothed
  • Hypersensitivity to touching or certain clothes
  • Feeding problems, irregular eating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • colics
These symptoms can cause severe mother-child difficulties with stress and lower parent self-esteem. Especially excessive crying and sleeping problems can cause additional psychological problems for the mother. Very often they try every tip of friends of relatives, but they do not work! So the mother thinks that the symptoms might be due to bad parenting.

ADHD is a genetically based disorder. So the mother or father (and often both) might also be affected by ADHD. Thus they might have additional problems with organizing and impulse regulation. Up to now there is very little help for these families. The best thing is to seek professional help by a doctor or psychotherapist. Psychostimulants are not recommended for very young children before preschool.

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