ATTENTION-DEIFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)
Do you know that the most common neurodevelopmental disorder for childhood is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? A disorder often diagnosed from childhood and carried out until adulthood. People with this may act without thinking what will be the result, impulsive or be super active.
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be a condition disorder that includes a mixture of persistent problems, like issue listening, upset and impulsive behavior. It is a highly genetic and brain-based syndrome that has something to do with particular brain operations called the “executive functioning skills”. It is also an interruption in generating dopamine in the brain. This could cause overactive and impulsive behaviors. The disorder is common in kids. There are three types of ADHD according to APA which are predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive.
ADHD is a disorder of a person showing symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and/or inattention which affects the daily activity functions and development. Inattentive is someone having trouble in focusing, lacking in persistence and mostly disorganized. These are mistakenly interpreted as defiance and lack of comprehension. Hyperactive is someone constantly moving, having trouble being still and talking excessively. Impulsive is someone doing actions without thinking the consequences or what will happen. This can potentially harm others or the person itself. This person can also be intrusive or interrupt with others without considering the effects of their actions whether long-term or short-term.
ADHD symptoms can lessen as you aged. However, treatment is still needed since there might be a negative impact in life itself. Whether it is considered a disability or not, everyone should know that ADHD can limit a person’s functioning.
In children, ADHD is commonly diagnosed in controlled classroom. Boys are more likely to have the symptoms of hyperactivity than girls. For girls, symptoms of day dreaming and hyper-talkative is the most common. If you were diagnosed with childhood ADD or MBD, likelihood is high that you’ve carried a minimum of variety of the symptoms into adulthood.
Even though this disorder is genetic, there are no recorder harms in the brain during the early development. As of now, scientists have no specific explanation on what causes this disorder. It is a fact that treatment cannot cure ADHD but it can lessen the symptoms and improve one’s behavior.
Though it is a disorder, there are also positive and negative effects of being diagnosed with ADHD. One of the most effective way to help people with the disorder is to educate everyone about this especially family members and loved ones of the patient. This will help us understand the person, help for the treatment and live successfully together.
Most are not aware that they exhibit symptoms of ADHD. However, many adults find it difficult to focus in everyday tasks specially in work and having trouble in multitasking. They may have difficulty in time management and forget scheduled plans or meetings which can also result to frustration and stress and this inability to control instances can affect patience in falling in line, waiting and also during traffic.
Adult ADHD symptoms may include:
- Disorganization and problems prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Problems focusing on a task
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Poor in planning
- Low tolerance for frustration
- Mood swings
- Problems completing tasks
- Hot temper
- Cannot cope with stress easily
Child ADHD symptoms may include:
- Daydreaming (most of the time)
- Fidgeting or squirming
- Lose things a lot or forgetful
- Cannot easily resist temptation
- Have trouble taking turns
- Difficulty in getting along with others
There are types of ADHD based on the symptoms presented by each individual
Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
- Have trouble following instructions
- Trouble organizing and finishing a task
- Cannot pay attention to details
- Easily forget details
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
- Talks a lot
- Cannot sit still
- Trouble waiting for their turn
- Trouble listening to directions
- May experience more injuries
- All traits of the above types are equally present in the person
HOW TO MANAGE SYMPTOMS
Having a healthy lifestyle can help a lot in dealing with ADHD. In order for the medication and behavioral therapy to work, it is important that the patient should have a healthy lifestyle. Some of these behaviors might help:
- Having a healthy eating habit by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein
- Having daily routine exercises or physical activities
- Limiting the use of electronic devices and gadgets like cellphone, laptop, etc.
- Having enough sleep
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL BEHAVIOR OF PERSON WITH ADHD?
Behaviors are the effects of ADHD symptoms. Examples are tantrums and defiance. When children cannot tolerate repetitive tasks or find it boring to do the same things over and over, these are results of inattention. On the other hand, impulsivity can result to children shouting and throwing things when overwhelmed with frustration. They have trouble in managing and controlling powerful emotions which mostly result to outburst. To understand the defiance, anger and aggressiveness, Dr. Anderson, a clinical psychologist, explains that when someone is telling what a kid is supposedly doing, the kid might think there is something with wrong with his/her behavior. Thus, they might react aggressively towards people.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF ADHD?
- Lack of focus
- Difficulty in giving attention to details
- Have trouble in multitasking
- Fidgeting and squirming
- Walking or running around frequently
- Trouble in playing or working quietly
- Hard time waiting to talk or react
- Blurts out answers before someone finishes asking a question
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
There is no specific test that can conduct to determine whether ADHD is present on a person. Experts usually conducts interviews, thorough review of medical history, evaluations for conditions on ADD and following symptoms. Diagnosis is a complicated process since ADHD is a nuance neurological condition. These includes checklist for ADHD ratings and history from the parents, teachers and the person.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
Treatment for ADHD can only lessen the symptoms and can help with day-to-day activities. It can be a therapy, a medicine or a combination of both.
Several types of medication were tried most of the times to know which works best for a particular person. That is why anyone taking these medications should be closely monitored by their prescribing doctor.
The most common type of medication is called stimulants. Its works on the proper thinking and attention by increasing the chemicals in the brain called dopamine and norepinephrine. This kind of medicine is considered safe. However, there are still side effects and risks when misused or taken more than the prescribed dosage. Here are some side effects for your guidance:
- Decreased appetite
- Sleeping problems
- Changes in personality
- Irritability and anxiety
Non-Stimulants are prescribed when stimulants have extreme side effects to a person. This can be prescribed also with stimulants to ensure effectives. These kind of medication takes longer to work compare to stimulants but it also improves attention, focus and impulsiveness.
Antidepressants are also prescribed sometimes even if not approved by the U.S. FDA. These medications can also be prescribed alone or together with stimulants, depending on the person’s response to the medication. Antidepressants is helpful with all symptoms of ADHD specially if the patient has another condition such as anxiety, depression or another mood disorder.
There are five (5) types of medicine licensed for the treatment.
Some can be taken daily and some can be taken during work or school days. Treatment breaks are also recommended to check if the medicine is still needed or not. At first, small dosage will be given and can increase with the professional’s prescription. Regular checkups shall be made to ensure that the prescribed medicine is working effectively or has side effects.
We recommend behavioral therapy for the preschool-aged children from four (4) to five (5) years old. Training are being conducted to parents on the first line of treatment before the patient try the recommended medication. Good treatment plan can be used which includes follow-ups, monitoring and making changes if needed. These treatments will only work well depending on the patient and the family.
There are types of psychotherapy used:
- Behavioral Therapy
A therapy which aims to change the behavior of a person. It teaches a person to monitor his or her own behavior and reward oneself for controlling emotions (i.e., anger) and thinking before doing an action.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
It teaches a person to be mindful of his or her own thoughts and feeling hence, helped to improve concentration and focus.
- Family and Marital Therapy
It helps a patient by having an interaction with the family and spouse finding a better way to enhance a negative behavior.
- Specific Behavioral Classroom Management Intervention
Many school offer this to manage child’s symptoms and improve their function and development in school including peer communication.
- Stress Management
I use this for a patient’s family on how to deal with the stress due to a certain behavior.
- Support Group
These are group that meets regularly to discuss concerns, problems, frustrations, etc. and exchange information to help each other.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ADHD?
To better manage a situation, it is important to study the cause. However, for ADHD, even scientists are putting much effort for the research of its cause and the result is still unknown.
Some study shows that ADHD may be caused by the following:
- Lower level of activity in the parts of the brain which control the attention and activity level
- Extreme head or brain injuries
- Premature delivery
- Exposure to alcohol and nicotine during prenatal stage (environmental exposure may be included in the risk)
- Low birth weight
Others said that eating too much sweet, poverty, parenting and/or family chaos are causes of ADHD. Of course, these might worsen the symptoms specially for some cases but there are no studies to support these claims.