What is ADHD?
ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental disorder that makes it hard for a person to pay attention and control their impulsive behavior. People with this condition also have difficultly in sitting still. It is a chronic condition that affects millions of children. Though it generally starts at a very young age, as children as young as three years of age begin to show the symptoms of ADHD, it is not exclusive to children. Many adults also have this condition, though the severity can differ significantly between younger and older people.
What are the causes of ADHD?
Though there is no known definitive cause of this condition, research shows that the following factors might contribute to the development of ADHD.
Brain anatomy and function – Decreased activity in the part of the brain responsible for controlling attention and activity level can be a cause of ADHD.
Genes and heredity – It is often the case that this condition runs in the family. There is a 1 in 4 chance for a child to have ADHD if their patent has it.
Significant head injury – It can also result in a person developing symptoms of ADHD.
Exposure to substances – Consumption of alcohol and nicotine can also increase the risk of a person developing ADHD.
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
A person having ADHD can exhibit three main types of symptoms. As this condition predominantly affects children, they show more severe signs than adults who have ADHD.
Signs of ADHD in children
- Have a problem organizing daily tasks
- Easily distracted
- Find it hard to follow directions
- Unable to finish tasks
- Don’t listen to someone
- Forgets about daily activities
- Often lose things
- Makes careless mistakes
- Tend to daydream
- Find it hard to sit still
- Have trouble playing quietly
- Always moving
- Talks excessively
Have difficulty waiting for their turn
Blurts out answers
Signs of ADHD in adults
- Low self-esteem
- Chronic boredom
- Mood swings
- Substance abuse
- Chronic lateness
- Relationship problems
- Problems at work
- Easily frustrated
- Trouble controlling anger
If a person exhibits these signs for a prolonged period, and they start to affect their day to day life, then they should get in touch with a doctor and seek treatment for this condition.
What treatments are available for ADHD?
There are both medicinal and non-medicinal treatments available for ADHD. There is also an important thing to note here that these procedures and medications only treat the symptoms of the condition and not the disease itself.
ADHD medications help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity in a person and help them focus on their work. There are two types of drugs that a doctor can prescribe for ADHD, these are;
Stimulants – These medicines work fast by directly affecting the nervous system. It increases the brain chemical dopamine, which helps a person to control their thinking and let them pay attention to a given task.
Non-Stimulants – These drugs are not as fast as stimulants but can improve attention, focus, and control impulsivity in a person. Doctors recommend these medicines for the people who experience severe side effects from using stimulants.
Some other treatments that a doctor might recommend in conjunction with the medication or independent of them include:
It helps get a person open up about their feeling regarding ADHD. People with ADHD develop problems with peers and authority, and this treatment can help them to handle these relationships better. A psychotherapist will help them to explore their behavior patterns and teach them how to make good choices in the future.
In this procedure, the therapist will monitor the behavior of the person and suggest ways to change it appropriately. The therapist develops strategies on how to behave in response to a specific situation. These also involve direct feedback to help the person learn proper behavior.
Social skill training
This training is especially helpful for children who have severe issues while dealing with their social environment as a result of ADHD. In this therapy, the therapist will teach the kids to behave more appropriately in a social setting by teaching them behaviors like:
- Dealing with teasing
- Asking for help
- Waiting for their turn while doing activities or playing a game
- Sharing their toys
The combination of these treatments can help a person to cope with the symptoms of ADHD and to lead a better life.