ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a common chronic disorder that affects an individual’s focus, self-control and other skills while performing activities in daily life. It is one of the most common conditions observed in children. Its usual onset occurs before 6-12 years existing for more than 6 months and it may persist in adulthood. This condition was also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperkinetic reaction of childhood.
Let’s here know about the signs & symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
Signs & Symptoms
Inattentiveness, excessive activity, difficulty controlling behavior and impulsivity are common symptoms seen in those affected by ADHD. ADHD are of three subtypes: predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-PH), and combined type (ADHD-C).
ADHD-PI symptoms include:
- Gets easily distracted, forgets things and misses details
- Get bored of doing a task in a few minutes, unless doing something they enjoy
- Trouble following instructions
- Difficulty in completing a task
ADHD-PH symptoms include:
- Talking non-stop
- Be constantly in motion
- Being highly impatient
- Difficulty in waiting for things
- Trouble doing quiet tasks or activities!
Mostly, ADHD causes are unknown. But studies suggest that they happen due to:
The twin studies suggest that an ADHD-affected individual may inherit it from his or her parents as 75% cases are determined by genetics. Moreover, children whose siblings have ADHD are 3-4 times more likely to have ADHD than those who don’t.
Alcohol intake during pregnancy, extremely low birth weight, neglect, abuse, social deprivation, exposure to toxic substances like lead are some of the environmental factors that increase risk of developing ADHD.
A poor education system, dysfunctional family, high academic expectations, emotional and abuse and violence are some of many societal factors influencing risk of ADHD.
For diagnosing ADHD, no blood or imaging tests are taken but rather various tools are used to determine the condition. A questionnaire about child’s behavior (rating scales) and clinical interview with parents as well as child is conducted. This is done to find out how the child’s health history and how child behaves at school, home and other public places.
Counselling helps individuals with ADHD condition. The various psychological therapies include family therapy, social skills training, organizational training, neurofeedback, interpersonal psychotherapy, psychoeducational input, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Stimulant and nonstimulant medications for ADHD include atomoxetine, guanfacine, bupropion, clonidine, alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonists and methylphenidate. And, sometimes even antidepressants are used.
Stimulant medications are known to have at least some effect on symptoms in the short term in about 80% of people. They may also reduce the risk of unintentional injuries in children and adults with ADHD.
Gluten-free diet is discouraged in children with ADHD. Free fatty acid supplementation or decreased eating of artificial food coloring is known to have improved ADHD symptoms.