Published on July 22nd, 2013 | by Tom0
What Is ADHD? Symptoms, Causes & Treatment of ADHD
ADHD is short for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is a common neurobehavioral disorder. Usually starting during childhood, but being able to last to adult, ADHD is characterized by significant difficulties of either inattention or hyperactive-impulsivity, or a combination of the two.
Children with ADHD can’t follow directions and are easily frustrated with tasks which may interfere with a child’s ability to function at school or at home. Adults with ADHD are always difficulty with goal setting, employment, time management, self-esteem and addictions.
ADHD affects about 6-7 percent of children and 30-50 percent of those are continuing to have symptoms into adulthood. Boys are two to four times more than girls among all the people diagnosed with ADHD.
Inattentiveness—be easily distracted, daydream a lot, forget things, be trouble to follow instructions.
Hyperactivity—talks a lot, have difficulty staying still, moves constantly, unable to do quiet tasks and activities, constant fidgeting and squirming
Impulsivity—awfully impatient, unable to take turns, usually interrupt conversations, can’t wait to show their emotion, act without considering consequences, can’t get along with others.
Though many researches and studies have done over years to find the causes of ADHD, the exact causes are still unknown. But current studies show that ADHD tends to run in families, which means that genetics plays an important role.
There are also many other factors that experts think may be the possible causes: imbalance of brain chemicals, brain damage, brain function and anatomy, smoking and alcohol drinking during pregnancy, low birth weight, being male.
Though can’t cure the ADHD thoroughly, proper treatments can help alleviate the symptoms and make the condition less a problem during daily life.
Stimulant medications: commonly used stimulants include Concerta, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate, Methylin, Ritalin, Adderall, Daytrana. All these are helpful for controlling hyperactive and impulsive behavior. But the side-effects may be worrisome.
Non-stimulant medications: For over 6 years old children that can’t stand the side-effects of stimulant medications, some non-stimulants such as Intuniv and Stratterra may be prescribed.
Methylphenidate and dexamfetamine-based medications can give a period of treatment while Atomoxetine treatment can last longer. Methylphenidate and dexamfetamine-based medications work by stimulating a part of the brain and then changing mental and behavioral reactions. While Atomoxetine works differently. This medicine can increase the amount of a chemical in the brain and help control impulse and aids concentrations.
All these medicines have side-effects and should be used with caution. Before you take any medicine for your children, make sure you know the side-effects and dosage and administration clearly.
For more detailed information about medications used for ADHD, you can see the booklet, Mental Health Medications, or search the website National Institute of Mental Health.
Beside medication treatment, experts believe that behavioral therapy can play an important role too. Here some behavioral therapy proved to be useful:
- Teach the child how to monitor his or her behavior
- Give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors
- Follow a certain schedule every day to form a routine
- Use rewards and goals
In addition to behavioral therapy, there are other therapies seem helpful too including:
Psychotherapy—a talking therapy can help you to cope and live with the ADHD.
Cognitive behavioral therapy—a way trying to change how the child feels about a situation and in turn changes their behavior.
Social skills training—try to teach the children how to behave in social situation.
Parent training and education programmers—help parents to know the specific ways to talk to their children with ADHD, and then help to improve their attention and behavior.
A healthy balanced diet is very important for people with ADHD. Some foods like sugar and caffeine are suspected to aggravate hyperactivity. Discuss a diet plan with your GP and don’t change the diet without medical advice.
Regular exercise is needed.
Supplements like Omega 3 fatty acid can be beneficial but long term intake is not recommended as they can build up to dangerous levels.