Community Psychiatry’s Leela Magavi, M.D. was featured in Verywell Health discussing how ADHD symptoms are worsening during COVID. 

Study Reveals ADHD Symptoms Worsening During COVID Pandemic

It’s estimated that approximately 9% of children in the US have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.1 Under typical conditions, this common childhood disorder, characterized by inattention and lack of focus, can be managed relatively easily with a consistent schedule and clear guidelines for daily tasks.

But ever since mid-March, we can all agree that a consistent schedule and clear guidelines have been sorely missing in all of our lives, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And in the months since, as we’ve all been ordered to shelter in place to varying degrees, a recent study shows that kids with ADHD are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to this new normal.2

Here, we’ll take a look at the findings and examine why the shutdown has exacerbated ADHD symptoms in some kids, and what can be done about it.

Physical Activity

Children with ADHD thrive in active environments, says Leela Magavi, M.D., psychiatrist and regional medical director at Community Psychiatry in Newport Beach, California. “Various study results reiterate the importance of daily exercise in reducing ADHD symptoms and improving cognitive function in children,” says Magavi.

The necessary safety measures being taken during the pandemic have unfortunately prevented children from the amount of daily exercise they need.

Individualized Learning

Many children have Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, which often include one-on-one support and help with particular subjects, says Magavi. This can be difficult to replicate at home, especially when parents are responsible for their own work deadlines.

Talk With Your Child

“During this tumultuous time, we must have open, honest conversations about COVID-19 to dissipate stress caused by any misinformation,” says Magavi. “Voicing emotions, limiting screen time, and maintaining familiar routines as much as possible could help alleviate ADHD, depressive and anxiety symptoms,” she says.

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