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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Many children, especially preschool children, are said to be 'hyperactive.' However, that term may be misused to describe a child who's merely active and busy, which is a normal part of being a child and not necessarily a disorder. Some children who are labeled 'hyperactive' may just need to learn self-control. This is different from a child with A-D-H-D, 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,' formerly known as 'A-D-D,' which is a problem of the brain and central nervous system. Sometimes parents, teachers, or other authority figures may be quick to label a child as 'hyperactive' and administer medication, in the hope of curbing what's actually normal, energetic behavior. Medicating a child who doesn't have a serious psychiatric or physiological disorder can have damaging consequences, both physically and psychologically. If you believe your child may be hyperactive, it's important to seek an evaluation. What may appear to be 'hyperactivity' could also be a sight or hearing problem, a learning disability, or problems within the family. It may also be the result of the child's diet, if it's high in refined sugars and low in complex carbohydrates. Examine what the child's eating, and cut out sweets, sweetened cereals, and white-flour products, substituting whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables. Don't give children coffee or tea, and be aware that some soft drinks also contain caffeine, as well as sugar, which could be contributing to the child's behavior.

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