ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: What parents need to know?
1. ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood
2. Boys are 3-4 times more at risk than girls
3. First diagnosed in childhood and may continue into adulthood
4. Genetics plays a key role and the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD is increasing
5. No single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD
1. Current research does NOT support the perception that it is caused due to eating too much sugar, watching too much television, bad parenting, poverty etc.
Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder that causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and disruptive behavior. It is characterized by impulsive behavior, hyperactivity and inattention. Usually, ADHD is diagnosed in childhood, but symptoms of ADHD can endure through adolescence and adulthood.
People with ADHD will face various difficulties in concentrating, paying attention to details, sitting still and controlling impulses. Many people with untreated ADHD will have difficulty in socializing with their peers, coworkers and even family members at home. They may realize what is expected from them, but will have difficulty in executing it, as they can’t pay attention, focus on things and stay still.
Symptoms of ADHD can be divided into three subtypes:
An inattentive type – The symptoms of this type include:
• Trouble paying attention
• Careless errors in schoolwork
• Difficulty staying focused
• Listening problem
• Difficulty in following instruction
A hyperactive – impulsive type – The symptoms of this type of ADHD includes:
• Difficulty remaining seated
• Excessive running or climbing
• Difficulty in playing quietly
• Excessive talking
• Difficulty waiting in line
• Problems with interrupting
• Impatient to listen
A combined type – It is the combination of an inattentive and hyperactive type.
Current treatments focus on reducing the symptoms and improve the functioning. In most cases integrated approach – combining medicine and behavior therapy is used. Generally, a good treatment plan includes medication, behavior therapy, parent training, or a combination of treatments, close follow-up and monitoring.
Parents of children with ADHD are recommended to actively get involved in the children’s treatment as Parent education is also a significant part of ADHD management.
Behavioral Therapy – is a form of counseling that aims to change the behavior of the person with ADHD and develop sets of skill for dealing with difficult situations. Goals and rewards, creating a routine and training, organizing skills are some of the parts of behavioural therapy
Also, through certain lifestyle changes at home itself, a better environment for a person with ADHD can be created. This is especially recommended for children with ADHD
• Fixed schedule for meals, naps and bedtime
• Maintaining an organized and uncluttered home environment
• While giving instructions, use simple words, eye contact and clear command
• Encouraging them for sports and extracurricular activities
• Avoiding the situations that might trigger symptoms of ADHD
• Show affection frequently
• Clear rules, chore lists and structured routines
Medication – Several types of medicines such as stimulants, non-stimulants and antidepressants are used to treat ADHD. As different medicines have different responses from different people with ADHD, your doctor might try to give you few medicines in different doses.
In case, a person with ADHD is also being treated for another disorder, doses of medicines will be different. Medication is always given on recommendation of doctor.