Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a brain disorder that causes hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors in children and adults. It affects how you control your behavior and pay attention to different tasks. People having ADHD face trouble while focusing or staying still for longer periods. This disorder is more common in boys than girls. It can be spotted in a child during the early years of school. It is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of children in the United States.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder cannot be cured, but early detection can help your child cope with the symptoms and perform their task in a better way.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
Symptoms of ADHD can be categorized into three main groups:
1. Predominantly inattentive
A child with predominantly inattentive ADHD have the following symptoms:
- Can be easily distracted
- Unable to perform or finish the tasks
- Not able to properly listen and focus
- Make mistakes
- Unable to follow the guidelines
- Quickly forget
- Lack of organizing daily task
- Can’t sit still
- Loses the belongings
2. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD
A child with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD shows the following symptoms:
- Face trouble when sitting for long periods
- Unable to play quietly
- Always move and climbs
- Interrupting the people
- Do not wait for their turn
- Difficulty while focusing on tasks
- Talk too much
3. The third type of ADHD is a combination of both types. This is the most common type of ADHD, and here the symptoms change as a person gets older.
The symptoms include:
- Easily forget things
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble staying organized
This type of ADHD is treated by properly diagnosing it because it changes over time and treatment will also change according to the age and symptoms of the individual.
ADHD vs. ADD
Sometimes another term called ADD is also used instead of ADHD. It means attention deficit disorder. This term was previously used for individuals who face trouble while focusing but were not hyperactive. This name was officially changed and the term ADHD took its place in 2013. However, some people still use the term ADD instead of ADHD.
What causes ADHD?
It is not sure what exactly causes the condition – however, the experts believe that certain things may lead to ADHD like:
Genetic factor: Experts believe that one of the major causes of the disorder can be genetic.
Chemical changes: It may be due to chemical imbalances in the brain. Reduction of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that helps in moving the signal from one nerve to another, can be a factor causing ADHD.
Mental changes: It may be due to slow development of the brain areas that control the attention of the persons especially the children. Studies showed that people with ADHD have less volume of gray matter: the area of the brain that helps in decision making, self-control, and talking.
Malnutrition: Poor nutrition, drinking alcohol, and smoking may affect the brain development of the baby during the pregnancy of a woman.
Brain damage or disorder: The damage to the front part of the brain that controls emotions can contribute to ADHD.
How ADHD is diagnosed?
Most of the experts believe that there is no single test to diagnose ADHD. Usually, during the early stages of child development, it remains undiagnosed due to typical childhood behavior. A doctor will diagnose the disorder by collecting the information from the school and family. Your doctor will assess this information to check the symptoms of the disorder.
A physical exam may be done to check the other symptoms or any problem with health. If you see any symptoms in your child, talk to your doctor. If your child is unable to perform well in school, you can talk to the doctor or school psychotherapist. Discuss everything with the doctor and if recommended, go straight to an ADHD specialist.
Behavior therapies and medications are used to treat or improve the behavior of individuals. Usually, two types of therapies are used to treat the disorder.
The first one is psychotherapy where a specialist helps a child understand the symptoms or changes caused by ADHD. This therapy helps children manage and control their emotions in a better way. It encourages them to handle their emotions and improve self-confidence.
Another type is behavioral therapy where a specialist tries to improve the behavioral changes of the children. It tells the children how to monitor, manage, and replace bad behavior with a good one.
In some cases, medication is also used to treat ADHD. It affects the brain chemicals like dopamine to control impulsive behavior.
Types of medication
The disorder is usually treated with two types of medications:
The most common form of stimulants for ADHD include central nervous system stimulants. These stimulants increase the number of brain chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine.
Non-stimulants are usually prescribed by a doctor in case of side effects or if medication is not working properly for your child.
Few side effects are also associated with ADHD medications like:
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Bad temper
These side effects usually get better with time. Your doctor may lower the dosage of the medicine to ease the side effects. It is always advisable to consult your doctor before starting these medications.
In addition to these medications, a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and proper sleep can also help your child improve the symptoms of the disorder.
ADHD can seriously affect the life and relationship of a child. Treatment is quite important to ease the symptoms of the disorder. People with ADHD can truly enjoy a normal life by properly treating the condition. If you or your child have the symptoms of ADHD, your first step should be to talk to a doctor. A specialist will help you live well with the disorder by creating a treatment plan for you.