All about ADHD

 
All about ADHD

Here are ADHD's Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Precautions, Prevention, Diagnosis, and FAQs.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome. As the name suggests, children with ADHD lack attention, are hyperactive, and in some cases impulsive as well.


Symptoms:

  1. They are in constant motion
  2. They do not seem to listen
  3. Trouble playing quietly
  4. Cannot finish a task
  5. Are easily distracted
  6. Often talk excessively
  7. Interrupt others
  8. Squirm or fidget



Causes:

  1. Pregnant woman exposed to drugs
  2. Mothers smoking during pregnancy
  3. Genetics
  4. History of ADHD in family



Diagnosis: Mental disorders like ADHD need to be diagnosed by an expert (psychologist or psychiatrist) and should never be self assumed.


  • There is no specific test which can confirm ADHD. Also, symptoms of ADHD are similar to other disorders of Autism Spectrum Disorder, hence a careful and repetitive diagnosis by an expert is necessary. It is difficult to identify symptoms in children under the age of 5.
  • Mostly all children are hyperactive. The only difference between a child suffering from ADHD and a normal child who is hyper is that a child with ADHD will have aggression issues along with lots and lots of prangs. Theses prangs can include causing damage to properties, breaking things in the house, getting hurt themselves or hurting others.
  •   A child suffering from ADHD is unable to concentrate even in the activities (s)he enjoys. (S)he gets hyperactive all the time and fidgets a lot. But this is not the only diagnosis for ADHD. If you want to find it out for sure then you have to go for a full diagnosis, either by a developmental paediatrician, a psychiatrist or a psychologist. An expert will give a diagnosis out of the following three:

-whether the child has ADHD issues

-whether the child is hyperactive

-whether the child just has attention issues

  • Your child's doctor will identify your child's symptoms in a span of 6 months or more. If your child shows 6 or more symptoms in the months of observation, the doctor will diagnose that your child has ADHD. The doctor will need your help, as well as the help from your child's schools.
  • Your child's psychologist might also suggest a physical exam and a brain scan.



Prevention:

  • There is no way to prevent ADHD but there are ways to help children with ADHD feel and do their best at home and at school.
  • One thing to keep in mind is complications during pregnancy are linked to ADHD. If you are healthy throught your pregnancy, the chances of your child having ADHD reduces greatly. A healthy diet and regular doctor visits are important. So is avoiding the use of alcohol and drugs.



Types of ADHD:

  1. Hyperactive or Impulsive type: The child shows hyperactive and impulsive behaviour but is attentive for the most part.
  2. Inattentive type: The child here is not overly active hence sometimes the symptoms cannot be diagnosed early on. Such children have a very little attention span.
  3. Combined type: Children here are both hyperactive and inattentive. This is the most common form of ADHD.



Treatment:

There is no cure for ADHD but the condition can be improved.


The main treatment of ADHD is medicines. Along with medication, psychosocial intervention like psychoeducation, academic organization skills remediation, parent training, behaviour modification in the classroom and at home, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and social skills training can be done.


Behaviour therapy: Behaviour therapy is a collective term for several types of therapies used to treat mental health disorders. The treatment focuses on unhealthy behaviours and aims to change them. Behavioural therapy can be used to treat depression, anxiety, panic disorders, anger issues, autism, ADHD, etc. The several types of behavioural therapies are – cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural play therapy, aversion therapy, system desensitisation.

 

Cognitive therapy: It is based on the concept that the way we think about things affects us emotionally. It is based on present thinking rather than past experiences.


Social Skills Therapy: Social skills therapy work on improving communication with friends, family members, at school, and more. Your child's psychologist might arrange group therapy for this particular skill development.


Medications, along with the above therapies have shown the best results in ADHD children. Depending upon your child's ADHD intensity, your child's psychologist will layout the treatment plan for your child.



Safety precautions at home for children with ADHD:

  • Use sturdy furniture at home. ADHD children have excess energy and are constantly moving without keeping much attention of the surroundings. So, it is important to use the furniture of strength and ones which have no pointed ends or something which can harm the baby.
  • Secure the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom. A small gate at the bedroom doorway will help a lot. Shelves/wardrobe cupboards should be fastened to the wall and out of reach of small kids. Windows should not be near to bed.
  • Lock all the cabinets in the bathroom. Do not keep any sharp object lying around in the bathroom. Never leave your child alone in the bathroom.
  • In the kitchen, keep sharp objects/lighters/cleaning materials locked away in a cupboard. Keep the electric cords out of reach of children.



FAQs regarding ADHD:


Can ADHD be cured?

In 40 to 50 % of children, it can be cured. In other cases, some symptoms (mainly attention deficit symptoms) stay on for a lifetime.


Are there any side effects of medicines for ADHD?

There are some side effects but not serious ones. Low appetite, headache and sleep disturbance are the common side effects. When medicines are given under proper guidance of a psychiatrist, with proper monitoring and Drug Holidays, side effects do not have any major impact on life.


Is there any alternative to treat ADHD without medicines?

There is no alternative to curing ADHD without medicines. Very mild cases of ADHD can be treated with psycho-social interventions like psycho-education, academic organisation skills remediation, parent training, behaviour modification in the classroom and at home, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and social skills training. However, in the majority of cases, such interventions should be secondary. The primary mode of treatment should be through medication because it is only after medicines that a child can be involved in such psycho-social interventions.


Does ADHD mean low IQ?

NO. Children with ADHD have normal or more than average IQ. If the IQ is low and a child shows ADHD symptoms then the primary diagnosis will indicate towards Intellectual Disability.


Is ADHD is a genetic problem?

Yes, there are pieces of evidence that genetic factors are involved in the aetiology of ADHD but it is not the only factor. There are neurochemical and neurophysiological factors involved as well.


What kind of behaviour therapy is there for ADHD?

Therapy for ADHD includes a multidimensional approach. It includes psycho-education, parent training, behaviour modification in the classroom and at home, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), academic organisation skills remediation, and social skills training.


How to handle a child with ADHD?

A child with ADHD should not be beaten or punished for his/her shortcomings. Positive reinforcement techniques can be used. It means that when a child follows instructions or commands, (s)he can be rewarded with say an ice-cream or chocolate.




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