ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), ADHD is described as a “persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity or impulsiveness that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in individuals at a comparable level of development.”
This common condition affects children and teenagers, as well as adults. It is the most commonly diagnosed among kids, and The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children in the US have ADHD.
People with ADHD usually have problems concentrating on particular tasks, instructions or things. They often feel the impulse to move and act impulsively, not thinking out their actions. While these behaviors are a normal part of childhood development, children with ADHD will display much more pronounced and frequent instances. These behaviors often interfere with a child’s normal functioning at school and with peers or family members. Adults with ADHD may experience difficulty with time management, organization and follow-through. These issues can be reflected in relationships, work and addiction.
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, although researchers believe that it results from a combination of genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain, and possibly nutrition, infection or exposure to toxins that affect an infant’s brain development.
ADHD is not caused by sugar intake, television, bad parenting or food allergies.
What are the symptoms?
Severe instances of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness are the main behaviors caused by ADHD. Children with ADHD might display:
– Easy distraction from a particular activity
– Difficulty focusing on a task or text
– Easily becoming bored
– Problems completing assignments
– Lack of focus when being spoken to
– Fidgeting, squirming in seats and constant movement and or/speech
– Extreme impatience
It is important to note that ADHD can easily be mistaken for normal childhood behaviors of “outgoing” or “difficult” children and vise versa.
What is the treatment?
ADHD is not curable. However, the symptoms that interfere with everyday life can be alleviated with a combination of medicine and psychosocial therapies.
Medications known as “stimulants” are used to control hyperactivity and out of control behaviors as well as assist in focus and clarity. These include well-known medicines like Concerta, Ritalin, and Adderall. Stimulant drugs can have certain unwanted side-affects and can be replaced for non-stimulant medicines.
Psychosocial therapies used to change the social and behavioral problems caused by ADHD include: special education, behavior modification, and most importantly, psychotherapy, whereby a behavioral specialist can help a child or adult learn better ways to handle themselves in social situations.
There is a consensus of people who believe that ADHD is often over-diagnosed and that related medications are over-prescribed for both children and adults. This is especially problematic since stimulant drugs are known to cause side effects like depression, sleep problems, loss of appetite and more. Some believe that a natural approach that addresses diet and nutrition (avoiding allergens and synthetic food products) could alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.
Do you have questions about ADHD? Can you recommend treatments that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below…