What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a mental disorder. It can make it difficult for a person to concentrate on a given task and makes them hyperactive. People with this disorder might also act without regard to the consequences which a person usually doesn’t do. It is also hard to regulate emotions for people with ADHD.
It is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and sometimes continues into adulthood. Children with this condition can also struggle with low self-esteem, trouble relationships, and poor performance in school. With time the symptoms of ADHD become less severe, but for some, they don’t completely go away. No treatment can cure ADHD, but procedures involving medications and behavioral therapies can help people to fight ADHD symptoms and lead a somewhat comfortable life.
ADHD is more common in boys as compared to girls. The symptoms of this disorder usually develop in the early school years when a child begins to have problems concentrating and paying attention. When these symptoms carry over in adulthood, people will find it challenging to manage time, remain organized, holding down a job, or setting goals.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
The signs of ADHD become visible in children as young as three years old. These symptoms can get less intense over time, but some people might still experience them in their adulthood.
Some common signs of ADHD include:
Lack of focus
People with ADHD have trouble paying attention, even when someone talks to them directly. They might be listening to you but would not be able to repeat what you have just said to them.
It is not necessary for people with ADHD to always be loud. Being secluded from what’s happening around them, can also be a sign of ADHD.
A person having this condition might also show interest in a variety of things, but find it difficult to finish what they have started. They might be significantly involved in a project but abandon it unfinished as soon as another thing catches their attention.
People with this condition might also fail to recognize the needs and desires of others, which makes them do things that might not be socially appropriate.
It is hard for those having ADHD to stay still in a place for long. They don’t want to stay put, and if forced to sit still, they will fidget or squirm in their char.
Children with this condition can find it hard to control their emotions. They might burst into anger at inappropriate times. Younger children might also have temper tantrums.
Forgetfulness is also a common thing among kids with ADHD. They can forget to do homework or lose items like their toys, etc. frequently, as they can’t remember where they had put them.
Avoidance of tasks needing extended mental effort
People with ADHD avoid doing tasks that require continuous mental energy, like paying attention in a class or doing work assigned to them.
Trouble waiting for their turn
It is most common in kids, as they can find it unsettling to wait for their turn during activities or when playing games. This kind of behavior makes it hard to deal with them.
Trouble getting organized
It is hard for people with ADHD to keep track of various tasks and activities. It can pose a significant problem for them when it comes to prioritizing their work.
Problem playing quietly
Children with this condition can find it difficult to play quietly or to indulge in activities of leisure or calm.
It is common for people with ADHD to interrupt someone in the middle of the conversation or to interfere in someone else’s discussions. They can also interject themselves in activities or games in which they are not participating.
What causes ADHD?
The ultimate cause behind this condition is still unknown, but researches believe that several things might lead to it. These includes
Heredity – ADHD can be genetic and run in families.
Toxins – Lead and other similar substances can affect the development of children’s brains, which can lead to the symptoms of ADHD.
Brain changes – In people with ADHD, the areas of the brain responsible for controlling attention are less active in comparison to those who do not have this condition.
Brain injury or a brain disorder – Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain can cause issues relating to controlling impulses and emotions, which are the signs of ADHD.
Poor nutrition, smoking, drinking, infections, and substance abuse during pregnancy – These can affect the development of the children’s brains, which might lead to them showing symptoms of ADHD.
Chemical imbalance – The brain chemicals in people who have ADHD can also be out of balance.
What treatments are available for ADHD?
Though there is no identified cure for this disorder, it doesn’t mean that one cannot treat the symptoms. Many procedures are available, and doctors often recommend them for the treatment of ADHD symptoms. These treatments include:
Doctors usually prescribe CNS or central nervous system stimulants drugs for ADHD treatment. These CNS medicines work by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain; these chemicals improve the concentration and help a person focus better.
If the stimulants cause side effects, or not prove to be working as desired, then the doctor can recommend non-stimulant medications. These can include atomoxetine or nortriptyline.
It helps children with ADHD to open up about their feelings. Psychotherapy helps a person better handle relationships as ADHD can result in problems with peers and authority figures. The psychotherapist can explore the behavior patterns of a person and suggest ways in which they can make better choices in the future.
This procedure deals with altering the behavior of a person who has ADHD. The therapist will develop strategies for how a person should behave in response to certain situations. Such strategies sometimes involve some direct feedback to help the person learn proper behavior.
Social skill training
This training can be beneficial for children who have issues dealing with social environments. Similar to behavior therapy, the therapist aims to teach the kid more appropriate behaviors. That helps children with ADHD to better interact with others.
The therapist will teach the kid behaviors such as:
- Asking for help
- Sharing toys
- Dealing with teasing
- Waiting for their turn
Sometimes, with a combination of medications and behavioral therapy, children start to show significant improvements, and the symptoms of ADHD starts to appear less frequently.