If you have often wondered why your child is unable to sit still in class or focus on homework and other activities when most of the other children in the class are mellow, you may want to consult a specialist dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as, “A brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”
To elaborate, children and adults suffering from ADHD, are prone to losing attention in the middle of a task. They also tend to lose track of what they are doing only to wander off to another task. Unfortunately, this can often come off as callousness to onlookers who are not familiar with the symptoms of ADHD.
The second characteristic of this condition is hyperactivity, which simply means that a person cannot stay still for too long and that they may be prone to fiddling with things in their vicinity and might be very restless too.
The impulsive nature, seen in most people with ADHD, forces them to take action immediately, without a second thought. These individuals may also have the tendency to interrupt others constantly, which may not bode well in many situations.
Causes and Symptoms of ADHD
This condition may be caused by a combination of factors like the mother’s exposure to dangerous toxins like lead when pregnant, smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, low birth weight, genetic disposition and certain types of brain injuries.
ADHD may be more common in boys and when it occurs in girls, inattention is the primary symptom. Most children diagnosed with ADHD have accompanying conditions like dyslexia, anxiety, depression and substance abuse as they grow up.
While some individuals with ADHD may show only one of the characteristics like impulsive behavior or hyperactivity, others may have a combination of symptoms.
In many, especially young children, symptoms like the inability to sit in one place or focus might get brushed away as lack of interest in studies or a common tendency to be playful. The symptoms can, however, start obstructing their everyday lives as they progress to higher grades.
If left unattended, a child with ADHD can grow into an adult with a full-blown condition that can be strong enough to disrupt their work and personal lives.
Even though the symptoms of ADHD may appear as early as the age of 3, it can often be ignored as naughtiness or childishness. But research shows that adults who go on to get diagnosed later in life may have had terrible academic results, an array of unsuccessful relationships and trouble in the workplace.
Common symptoms of ADHD include:
- A tendency to overlook specifics and make careless mistakes in their lessons
- Visible dislike toward activities that require focus
- Inability to stay attentive
- Difficulty in staying organized or completing tasks that need to be done in a sequence
- Inability to focus on a conversation
- Inappropriately moving from one place to another
- Inability to follow instructions
- Talking incessantly
- Extreme impatience
Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD
The diagnosis of ADHD, like other psychological disorders, involves a series of tests and evaluations. For a person to be diagnosed with ADHD, the specific symptoms should be chronic and severe enough to obstruct daily life. For adults to be diagnosed with ADHD, their history of symptoms is required to date back to their pre-teen years.
Treatment options for ADHD include:
Though this is a widely studied and commonly occurring condition, there is no cure for ADHD. Most of the treatments address the symptoms and can help reduce the typical impulsive behavior and improve the individual’s attention span.
A stimulant that can increase the production of dopamine and norepinephrine, the chemicals that support cognitive function and attention, is commonly prescribed. Doctors may prescribe non-stimulants for those who develop side effects to stimulants or if the stimulant has no particular effect.
Many therapists often complement these medications with behavioral or family therapies for better results.
Whether you, your child or someone you know has symptoms pointing to ADHD, it is advisable to consult a doctor who may be able to help you cope with the symptoms and bring back some normalcy to your life.
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml