Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a behavioral condition that makes focusing on everyday routines a challenge. Individuals who have ADHD and are left untreated can develop behavioral and emotional problems, difficulties within relationships and family problems. Children with this disorder never outgrow it, and adults often have difficulties keeping jobs and maintaining relationships with people. Research studies show that ADHD is genetic and may be environmentally induced. While there is no cure for ADHD, with proper education, psychological therapy, and medication people diagnosed with this disorder have had success in coping with their symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
There are three main signs or symptoms of ADHD identified as; problems with paying attention, being very active, and acting before thinking. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2007), found based on these symptoms three types of ADHD have been defined, which are: Inattentive type, where the person can’t stay focused on an activity; Hyperactive-impulsive type, where the person is very active and acts before thinking; and Combined type, where the person is inattentive, impulsive and overly active. Many children with ADHD who are the inattentive type have problems paying attention especially in school, and get distracted easily. Children who are the hyperactive-impulsive type are often very active and this is the most visible sign for ADHD. Hyperactivity and impulsivity go together which means the child is very active and acts before thinking. Children with this type often run around a lot, and have trouble being quite. Children with the combined type of ADHD often get depressed, tend to be insecure, and may have behavioral problems. While these are not symptoms of ADHD, they are problems that the child may have with coping with the disorder.
Cause of ADHD
The cause of ADHD is not known but studies have found it is often genetic and inherited. Researchers have not been able to diagnose the exact cause of ADHD but brain scan studies have shown a difference in the structure and brain activity of people afflicted with ADHD. These scans show that there is less activity in the area of the brain that controls activity and attention. Researchers also found that environmental factors could influence ADHD. Mothers, who smoked, drank alcohol or abused drugs during pregnancy increased the risk of having a child with ADHD (Biederman, J., Faraone, S. V., Keenan, K., Knee, E., et al. 1990). Scientists have found that preschool children exposed to lead paint have an increased risk of developmental and behavioral problems associated with ADHD. Exposure to PCBs in infancy may also increase the risk of developing ADHD.
Treatment of ADHD
American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Quality Improvement, Subcommittee on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. (2001), determined treatment for ADHD begins with a diagnosis and understanding of the person’s weaknesses and strengths. Knowing more about the disorder will help one understand how to help the person. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines recommend medicine and/or behavior therapy to treat the disorder. Research shows that school aged children who take medicine daily to help them often decreases their symptoms. The person’s doctor might recommend that the patient take a stimulant medication such as Dexedrine or Adderall or a methylphenidate medicine such as Ritalin or Concerta. Taking these medications improve symptoms about 70% for children and 58% for adults who have the disorder. Stimulants usually help to maintain focus and decrease hyperactivity and impulsivity. The medication side-effects are, loss of appetite, nervousness and problems sleeping. People are to be watched closely to be sure they are receiving the right dosage of the medicine. Behavioral therapy is recommended by the AAP guidelines which...
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