Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD in short, is a kind of disorder related to the brain. It is kind of a brain disorder of neurodevelopment type in which pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity is noticed that interferes with overall functioning or development. It mostly affects children and teenagers and it can continue into adulthood. But it is mostly diagnosed among the children and teenagers. Most children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder would have trouble to control their impulses and they are hyperactive. Because of this kind of condition the school life and overall life of the children can be affected. This disorder is indicated by activities such as problems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior which may not seem appropriate according to the age of the person. Recent studies have shown that the occurrence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is noticed more in case of boys and it is diagnosed less in girls. Its symptoms are noticed in early school years when the child may have problems paying attention to any particular thing. Early symptoms are noticed from the age of 6-12.It may create problems at home, school or during any recreational activities. This disorder can last till adulthood where it will cause problems in social, academic and occupational functioning. The first factor which involves Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is inattention, because of which a person may wander off task or lacks persistence. He also has difficulty to maintain focus because of which he may be heavily disorganized. These problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension but because of the disorder. Hyperactivity is another factor which causes a person to be constantly mobile even in inappropriate situations. The person may fidget, tap, or talk unnecessarily. In case of adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity. The third-factor Impulsiveness can cause a person to make hasty actions without thinking about results. It may cause harm later on. It can also push for a desire to get immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive. Such kind of person will interrupt others unnecessarily and they mostly make important decisions without thinking about the long-term consequences. Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have to face various problems. They face problems in self-esteem, managing time and also to get organized or setting goals. They have to face difficulty to maintain relationships and to keep a job.
Signs and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
There are various signs and symptoms which are related to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. However, they may be different in individual cases or according to age group. A child may have different symptoms compared to an adult with the same condition. As mentioned earlier, Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key factors which affect people with ADHD but in some cases, people have problems with just one factor or in other cases, people may have problems with two factors. In most children, combined problems involving all factors may be noticed. In smaller children going to preschool, hyperactivity is the most common behavioral factor noticed. Most often people confuse normal behavior of children as ADHD but it has to be understood that a little bit of playfulness in children is absolutely normal but in cases of ADHD the symptoms are more severe. Their occurrence rate is higher and those activities obstruct the whole learning process as well as a socializing process at home or school.
Most people with the problem of Inattention have the following symptoms:
- They don’t care about details and they make careless mistakes at Home, school or during any other activity.
- They face difficulty to pay attention while playing, at lectures, conversations, and lengthy reading.
- It seems that they are not listening when anyone speaks to them.
- They don’t focus on any instructions at work or school so they are unable to finish any task that they start.
- They face difficulty to organize daily activities and to manage time because of which they can’t meet with deadlines.
- They dislike tasks which involve mental effort for example homework in case of children and preparing reports, completing forms or reviewing lengthy papers in case of adults.
- They lose their things regularly like school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones.
- Any kind of unrelated thoughts or activities easily distracts them.
- They forget their daily activities like works, errands, returning calls, and appointments.
Most people with the problem of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity have the following symptoms:
- They will have problems being seated in a place.
- They will often leave their seats where they need to be in one fixed place like in a classroom or in office.
- They will often be restless and move around where it is not appropriate.
- They are not able to involve in any hobby quietly.
- They act if they are driven by some kind of a machine and they are always willing to be in motion.
- They have a tendency to speak nonstop.
- They act impatient in case of any questions to which they react even before the question is finished
- They may speak without waiting for their turn.
- They carelessly interrupt in other’s activities like in conversations, games, or activities.
Apart from these symptoms peculiar kind of symptoms may also be noticed in case of adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder including Anxiety, Low self-esteem, High temper, Procrastination, mood swings, depression, impulsiveness and chronic boredom. These symptoms may seriously hamper relationships or working conditions for the person.
Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can only be done by an experienced medical practitioner such as a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist. A person with ADHD can only be diagnosed if the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting. Those symptoms disturb the person’s overall functioning. Because of that, the person falls behind normal development for his or her age. It is the responsibility of the doctors to ascertain if the symptoms are the effects of some other condition or illness. Most children with ADHD are diagnosed during early school years but in case of adults, the condition can be diagnosed only if the symptoms had persisted before the age of twelve. The symptoms can be noticed from the age of 3-6 and it can continue to adulthood. In most cases, the symptoms of ADHD are mistaken to be emotional or disciplinary problems. It may also not be noticed in a bit quiet type of children because of which the ADHD can’t be diagnosed on time. The symptoms of ADHD may change with progression of age from childhood to adulthood. When a child is a young problem of hyperactivity-impulsivity is noticed more but as he reaches elementary school inattention may become a dominant problem because of which his academic progress will be obstructed. When the child may grow into adults, other symptoms like anxiousness, low confidence, antisocial behaviors and restlessness develop.
Causes and Risks factors for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The exact cause for this condition has not been discovered yet. But according to researchers, a number of factors are known to contribute to ADHD. Those causes and risk factors are as follows.
- Genes and heredity factors are known run in families.
- Chemicals in the brain may be out of balance.
- Exposure to dangerous substances like lead during childhood.
- Exposure to potentially dangerous substances during pregnancy.
- Injuries in the brain, especially in the front part.
- Smoking of Cigarettes, drinking alcohol and use of Drugs during pregnancy.
- Poor nutrition and low birth weight.
There are popular misconceptions regarding the causes of ADHD. For example, sugar is said to be related to ADHD which is not true. Watching too much TV or Poor school, Poor family and food allergy also won’t cause ADHD. ADHD can’t be easily prevented and it can also not be cured but if the conditions are diagnosed at the right time, then it can help the child or person with ADHD to lead a normal and happy life.
Though there is no specific cure available to treat ADHD the symptoms of ADHD can certainly be managed with proper medication and different therapy. Hyperactive and impulsive behavior can be controlled with the use of different medicines which are called stimulants. They help to increase attention span. Some of those stimulants are as follows:
Though there is no specific cure available to treat ADHD the symptoms of ADHD can certainly be managed with proper medication and different therapy. Hyperactive and impulsive behavior can be controlled with the use of different medicines which are called stimulants. They help to increase attention span. Some of those stimulants are Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), Dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine), Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), Methylphenidate (Concerta, Daytrana, Metadate, Methylin, Ritalin, Quillivant). If the person has other health problems, including high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, liver or kidney disease, or an anxiety disorder then it is advised to take appropriate medical advice before taking the stimulants. However, it must be noted that these stimulants may not work for everyone. Nonstimulant medication like Atomoxetine (Strattera), Clonidine (Kapvay), Guanfacine (Intuniv) is prescribed to children over the age of six. Food containing Omega 3 is proven to be beneficial; similarly, Vayarin which contains omega 3 is prescribed but is available only under strict medical prescription.
Different therapy like Special education, Behavior modification, Psychotherapy (counseling) and Social skills training can help the child or person with ADHD to live a normal life. These therapies focus on treatment of the behaviors by adopting different techniques. Similarly, support groups can be helpful to share their problems and find a solution for it. It is more beneficial for people with ADHD or parents who have children with ADHD. The role of the parents and teachers is extremely important for treatment of children with ADHD. They need to monitor the daily activities of the children in a close manner. Positive behavior in the children should be rewarded for better results. Parents need to be taught to give a quick and positive response to behaviors in children that they want to encourage. They also should ignore or redirect the behaviors that they want to discourage.