Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can make it difficult for a person to pay attention to properly. It also causes issues in controlling impulsive behavior. Children who are constantly active and restless are termed as naughty. But, it is a serious problem that begins in childhood and continues through a person’s adolescence and adulthood. The mental health disorder causes the affected person to suffer from a lack of focus. They cannot sit still for long periods. The condition affects both children and adults. Most parents miss the issue as they think the child is disobedient. Read ahead to know more about the more. With medical intervention, you can manage the problem. The therapies and medications help the affected person manage the symptoms and lead a happy life.

ADHD Symptoms

How do you know a child or adult suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? A wide range of behaviors points towards the problem. So, pay close attention to the common symptoms associated with the issue:

  • Face trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • Leaving any task incomplete due to forgetting about it
  • Affected people tend to get distracted easily
  • Trouble sitting still for an extended period
  • Interrupting people when they try to talk to others

If you observe such symptoms in you or your child, then get medical assistance. With a medical professional’s support, you can manage the symptoms better.

Types Of ADHD

Types Of ADHD

The symptoms a person suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder depends on the type of the problem. Based on the signs exhibited, you can classify the condition into three main types.

Predominantly Inattentive Type

The name itself signifies the problem suffered by the affected person. It is the type of ADHD, which causes trouble focusing. People suffering from the type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have trouble finishing tasks due to loss of focus. They also face trouble following instructions. Experts studying the condition think that most of the children suffering from the type of problem may not receive a proper evaluation. It is because they never disrupt the classroom. The type of problem is common among girls suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So, parents need to pay close attention and get help.

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type

People suffering from a specific type of ADHD can exhibit hyperactive as well as impulsive behavior. So, people who suffer from the problem can show signs like:

  • Interrupting people while they talk
  • Fidgeting
  • Trouble waiting for their turn

Inattentiveness is of less concern to people from the specific type. But, they can still find it difficult to focus on any tasks.

Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive And Inattentive Type

It is a common type of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. People suffering from the type tend to display both hyperactive and impulsive tendencies. So, they suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Tendency towards impulsiveness
  • Inability to pay attention
  • High energy levels
  • Above-normal activity levels

Determining the type of problem is essential in getting proper treatment. The type can change over time. So, it needs evaluation at regular intervals to decide on the pat treatment.

Difference Between ADD And ADHD

When you research about attention issues and impulsive behaviors, you might have come across the term ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is an outdated term. So, you must never get confused. Earlier, the term used to refer people who faced trouble paying attention, but showed no signs of hyperactivity. Such issues now come under the type of ADHD known as predominantly inattentive. So, instead of ADD, you use a new term to define the problem.

Difference In Adult And Children ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome has different symptoms in adults and children. Let’s take a closer look at how the problem affects adults and children.

Adult ADHD

Children who exhibit attention deficit hyperactivity disorder signs still suffer from the issues as adults. But, in the majority of the cases, the symptoms tend to decrease or become less frequent as they grow. It does not mean treatment is not important or necessary. You need to seek treatment without medical management, adults can suffer from different negative impacts. These problems can affect adults in many aspects of their life. It can result in the following signs:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble managing time
  • Impatience

The traits affect your personal and professional life. So, you can face problems at work or all types of relationships.

ADHD In Children

It is the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. But, most of the cases go undetected for years. When parents realize something is amiss in their children, they seek medical attention. So, the problem is mostly diagnosed between the ages of five and seventeen. In most cases, children suffering from ADHD face problems at school. It is because they have trouble finding success in a controlled setting like school. Boys receive the diagnosis more compared to girls. It is because boys tend to exhibit hyperactivity symptoms compared to girls. Most of the girls suffering from the disorder may not show hyperactivity signs. But, they can show other signs like:

  • Hyper-talkative
  • Daydream frequently

Since most of the symptoms associated with the disorder mimic regular childhood behaviors, you need professional assistance to know the difference.

Causes Of ADHD

Causes Of ADHD

The condition is quite common. But, the exact reason for the problem remains unclear. Many doctors believe attention-deficit hyperactivity syndrome has neurological origins. Genetics also can trigger the issue. On research suggest that the reduction of dopamine is a significant factor in developing ADHD. Dopamine refers to the chemical that triggers an emotional response as well as movements. It also aids in the movements of signals from one nerve to others. Other studies point to the structural difference in the brain. Research indicates people affected by the disorder have less gray volume in their brains. The gray volume usually aids in:

  • Self-control
  • Speech
  • Muscle control
  • Decision making

Complications during pregnancy (like smoking) are also listed as one of the potential causes of the disorder.

ADHD Testing And Diagnosis

A specific test is not available to detect if you or your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So, doctors cannot diagnose the disorder with just one test. To make a proper diagnosis, the doctor has to assess the symptoms developed over the past six months. The diagnosis involves gathering information from different people, including teachers, family members or close friends. The different methods used to detect the presence of the disorder are:

Physical Examination

The doctor performs a thorough physical examination to check for other health problems. Your doctor also checks for the symptoms and lists them down. To rule out other conditions, the doctor can suggest tests like:

  • Tests to check for eyesight and hearing
  • A blood test to detect lead levels and the presence of thyroid problems
  • Tests to measure electrical activities in the brain
  • Check brain abnormalities with imaging tests like CT scans or MRI

Information Gathering

The medical professional gathers information from family members and teachers. You must reveal the current medical issue, family medical history, and school records indicating any problems. Your doctor can gather information on how the symptoms affect daily behavior, productivity, moods, and habits. The doctor also interviews family members to know when and where the behaviors started.

Rating Scales

In countries like the USA, you have rating scales to evaluate information about the person affected by the disorder.

Diagnosing ADHD In Young Children

Diagnosing the problem in young children is a daunting task. Though the signs appear in preschoolers or young children, the signs may mimic other developmental problems. In some cases, language delays are mistaken for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So, young children suspected of the disorder need evaluation by a specialist. Parents who suspect the condition in their children need to see one of the following specialists:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologist
  • Developmental pediatrician
  • Speech pathologist

The doctor can detect the issue with close evaluation and monitoring. If it is present, then they refer the child to an ADHD specialist.

ADHD Treatment

You have different treatment options available to manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD treatment includes therapies, medications, and a combination of both. The type of treatment depends on the symptoms the affected person exhibits. You need to choose the right treatment option that works well and suits the family.

Therapies

Different therapies do not affect the core symptoms. But, it offers the affected person the necessary skills required to control them. So, your doctor can suggest the following therapies:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy

The therapy discovers the behavioral issue suffered by the affected person and finds the right methods to deal with it. So, you or your child need to talk about the issues associated with the condition. It helps in developing a formula to cope with the problem better.

Behavior Therapy

Behavior Therapy

The therapy uses the input from parents, teachers, and friends to develop the right strategy to deal with the condition. Different strategies like timeouts and reward system can help the child deal with the condition. In adults, teaching self-regulation, as well as modification techniques, can help manage the symptoms. These techniques can aid in identifying the negative behavior and diverting themselves from it.

Parenting Skills Therapy And Training

As the name suggests, it often aids the parents in developing methods to understand the negative behavior of their child. The therapy session also guides them in dealing with it.

Family Therapy

It is for the family of the children suffering from the disorder. During the therapy session, professionals consult the members on the issues they face at home due to the condition. They offer guidance to the family members to deal with the problem.

Social Skills Therapy And Training

Children and adults suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder face trouble socializing with others. So, the therapy allows them to learn the skills needed to interact with others socially.

Medication For ADHD

Your doctor can prescribe medications to deal with the symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The medications affect brain chemicals to aid in controlling impulsive actions and reactions. Most doctors suggest two main types of medications.

Stimulants

CNS (Central nervous system) stimulants are the medication commonly prescribed by the doctors. The drugs can aid in managing the symptoms by changing brain chemicals. It increases dopamine and norepinephrine to control impulsive behavior.

Non-stimulants

At times, the stimulants may not work for the affected person or cause some troublesome side effects. In such cases, your doctor prescribes non-stimulant medications. It increases the levels of norepinephrine in your brain. So, you can manage the symptoms associated with the problem.

Lifestyle Changes To Manage ADHD

If you or your loved ones suffer from ADHD, then along with medication, some lifestyle change is essential. The remedies can improve the symptoms of the condition. So, try to adopt the following steps:

Healthy Lifestyle

For managing the impulsive and hyperactive tendencies, it is import to lead a healthy lifestyle. You can control the negative signs associated with the condition by following the pointers suggested below:

  • You have to eat a healthy and balanced diet. A diet encompassing vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of protein can control the symptoms.
  • Avoid high sugar foods and snacks as it can make people affected by the disorder more restless and destructive.
  • Foods containing artificial food coloring as well as flavors can make normal kids hyperactive. So, it can only make the symptoms of people suffering from impulsive disorder worse. Foods containing sodium benzoate can also cause the problem.
  • Avoid food that can trigger an allergic reaction. Certain allergens can have an adverse reaction and make the symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder worse.

Including Physical Activity

People suffering from the disorder need to include physical activity in their daily routine. At least 60minutes of physical activity every day can ease the symptoms.

Good Sleep

Poor sleep patterns or insufficient sleep can worsen the symptoms of the disorder. People suffering from the disorder need good sleep to relax their mind and body.

Mind Relaxing Activities

Several studies have indicated the positive effects of mind relaxing techniques in people suffering from ADHD. The relaxation activities can calm the restless mind and make them more focusses and attentive. By practicing any of the activities suggested below, you can get positive effects on your thought process and keep you calm.

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Mindful meditation
  • Exploring outdoors

Complications Of ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is not considered a disability. But, the condition can have lifelong problems. People suffering from the condition can experience the following complications in their life:

Learning Disability

While the condition is not a learning disability, people suffering from it can experience trouble learning. The symptoms associated with the problem makes it harder for you to learn well. In some cases, the condition affects people who already suffer from learning disabilities. Learning disabilities can harm the children as they fail to learn basic things needed for life. So, children with ADHD require individual guidelines for learning. Teachers must allow extra time for completing tests and assignments. Such children need a personal reward system to motivate them to focus and pay attention.

Depression

The disorder can lifelong negative effects. Depression is one of the complications associated with the disorder. Children and adults are more likely to suffer from depression when they suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

It is a mental disorder characterized by persistent angry mood or irritable nature. People suffering from ADHD can develop DMDD. So, they become prone to frequent temper outbursts, which are disproportionate to the situation. In most cases, they react more severely compared to the typical reaction of same-aged peers.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can also experience the behavioral problem known as ODD. Such children show a pattern of hostile behavior towards parents, teachers, peers, and other authoritative figures. They are uncooperative, rebellious, and defiant. They cause more trouble for others than themselves.

Coping With ADHD

Children or adults suffering from ADHD have a reckless nature and tend to blurt out before thinking too much. It can make the caretakers and people around them frustrated. So, people with such conditions have trouble maintaining long-term relations. If you have someone with a hyperactive disorder, then you must learn steps to navigate and ensure they learn to cope. The following steps can help with the quest:

Maintain A Constant Schedule

You or your child need to follow a consistent schedule, which is structured and has regular expectations. So, adults can keep a calendar, use lists, and set reminders to stay organized. While children need to keep their everyday items like backpacks and toys in the assigned space. They must also complete their homework or assignment within a specified time.

Learn About The Disorder

If you are a caregiver, then you need to get comprehensive information about the hyperactive disorder. It will help you come up with a plan to manage the person affected by it. You can search online forums of parents of kids having the syndrome or try contacting organizations focused on providing help and tips for such people.

Professional Assistance

Your doctor can offer more guidance and support to manage the symptoms triggered by ADHD. You need to follow the instruction suggested by the doctor to cope with the condition better.

Preventing ADHD

There is no specific method to prevent the disorder. You can reduce the risk of children developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by following the steps suggested below:

Good Prenatal Care

Pregnancy complications are linked to the disorder. So, you need to good care of yourself during pregnancy. By staying healthy throughout the pregnancy, you avoid the possibility of having a child with the disorder. Pregnant women need to avoid the use of substances that can harm the unborn baby. So, women who are planning to get pregnant or already pregnant need to avoid drinking alcohol. It is necessary to quit smoking and stop using recreational drugs.

Avoid Toxic Exposure

You need to protect your child from exposure to toxins and pollutants. The smoke from factories or cigarettes can affect your child’s mental development. Avoiding toxic fumes from lead paint is also necessary to reduce the risk of the disorder.

Limit Screen Time

The claim is still unproved, but children below five years of age need to avoid excess exposure to video games or TV. It triggers more negative effects and trouble in the development of your child.

Conclusion

ADHD needs medical attention as early as possible. Without treatment, the condition can have a serious adverse impact on the life of children and adults. It can negatively affect personal and professional relations. The condition also causes problems in school and daily life. With proper treatment, you can reduce the effects triggered by the condition. Many people suffering from the problem lead a fulfilling and successful life with proper treatment and care. Some even flaunt the benefits of the condition. Therefore, talk to your doctor when you suspect you or your child has the issue. Medical assistance can help you develop a proper treatment plan. It helps manage the symptoms and live your life to the fullest with the condition.

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