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Characteristic features of mental health problems in childhood

Characteristic features

Marked restlessness, inattention and impulsiveness. Hyperactive children wriggle and squirm in their seats, find it hard to sit still in one place or experience difficulty persisting with any activity. In situations requiring attention and concentration, the child is easily distracted and seems not to listen when spoken to directly. Socially, such children find it hard awaiting their turn in activities or conversation, often blurting out answers before questions have been completed. For a diagnosis of hyperkinesis, the hyperactivity must be pervasive across different settings, for example, at home and at school. Both the British and North American criteria for diagnosis require a chronicity of at least six months of symptoms and onset before the age of 7.

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