ADHD Signs and Symptoms, Treatment: ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a psychological condition which affects a lot of children and can even manifest in adulthood. It includes a number of problems which can range from difficulty in concentration to impulsive behaviour and hyperactivity in children. It can also lead to poor performance in school, low self esteem in children and difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships with their peers.
The children tend to be irritable and can even become aggressive. However, children affected by ADHD can show a high amount of concentration and focus in tasks that they are interested in. Most of the patients outgrow their symptoms with age however some people never let go of their behaviour and can thus face problems in their adult life.
The exact cause of ADHD is not known however it has been theorised that it has some genetic influence. This condition is hard to diagnose from normal behaviour of the person and to differentiate from other conditions. Its diagnosis is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
ADHD- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a common condition affecting children of all ages. It is most commonly seen in boys rather than girls. It can also develop in adulthood of the person or it can continue into the adulthood of the patient. This condition has a highly negative effect on the life of the person as they are unable to perform well in the subjects that do not interest them thus facing difficulty in schools which can lead to low self esteem.
Adults often develop coping skills to manage their symptoms but it is difficult for children to cope with their symptoms. The diagnosis of the condition is to be made by a certified psychiatrist or a psychologist.
The management of the condition is a combination of medications, behavioural therapy and lifestyle changes in the patient. The article given below will give you an idea regarding the signs and symptoms of ADHD, Causes, Diagnosis and how to treat the condition.
The APA has characterised ADHD into the following types in order to make the diagnosis of the condition easier.
- Predominantly Inattentive- In this type, the patient’s main problem is maintaining attention. The child is unable to focus on any of the tasks that do not interest them and thus they are not able to finish their tasks. They are easily distracted by their own thoughts and thus find it difficult to even follow instructions properly.
- Predominantly Hyperactive and Impulsive- This condition is characterised by hyperactivity and impulsivity in the patient. They are unable to sit still and are always fidgeting. They are unable to wait their turn and often interrupt people while they are talking. They talk too much about anything and they also lack proper consideration while making a decision. They tend to rely on their whims and impulses which can even put them in a difficult situation.
- Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive- This is the most common condition affecting the children. The patients meet the criteria for both the conditions and neither of them are predominant. Your type of ADHD can change with age and over time hence your treatment plan will need to be updated regularly based on your symptoms.
ADHD Signs and Symptoms
ADHD can present a number of signs and symptoms which are evident in children if they are assessed properly. You can check out the common signs and symptoms of ADHD given below.
- Having problem focusing on tasks at hand
- Forgetting simple tasks and how to do them
- Being easily distracted by your own thoughts
- Interrupting people while they are talking
The symptoms of ADHD also depend on the type of ADHD that predominates in them. The symptoms based on their predominant trait are given below.
- Unable to sit quietly in their seats. They are always looking to make trouble.
- They are unable to sit quietly and always end up making a comment or blurting out a response even when they are not required to.
- Children tend to prefer running around and playing with their friends.
- They talk excessively and can talk about anything that interests them.
- Children are unable to focus on their studies in school.
- Children tend to get distracted with their own thoughts.
- They are unable to finish the tasks even when they are given instructions on how to do it.
- They lose their stuff and items regularly.
- They do not take part in tasks that do not interest them.
There is no known cause of ADHD but it has been claimed that it is a result of neurological dysfunction between the functions of dopamine and norepinephrine. There are many risk factors which can induce the onset of ADHD in children. They are given below-
- Genetics- ADHD has a 74% heritability. ADHD is affected by multiple genes meaning that all these genes need to occur together in order to produce ADHD. Children tend to develop ADHD if someone in their family is affected by ADHD.
- Environmental Factors- There have been many in which ADHD has developed in children who have been living in difficult environmental conditions. Children exposed to certain toxic substances in their childhood can develop ADHD. Premature babies, extreme low weight during pregnancy and alcohol intake during pregnancy is also known to play a role in the development of ADHD in children.
- Society- In some cases ADHD tends to develop in young children because they are developmentally behind their peers. This developmental disparity causes the children to stress over which can lead to the development of ADHD in children. ADHD is also more common in children who have experienced violence and abuse in their early years.
Diagnosis of ADHD is difficult and there is no diagnostic test available. Its diagnosis is made on the basis of the symptoms of the patient and by ruling out other conditions.
- Medical History- The doctor will take a medical history of the patient based on the reports and concerns raised by the parents and the teachers of the student.
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)- The diagnosis of ADHD has been classified by APA in the DSM. Your doctor will consult the DSM in order to ascertain the type of ADHD your child has.
- ADHD Rating Scale- There are many rating scales available to rate your child’s ADHD and to form a treatment plan accordingly.
- Differential Diagnosis- The doctor will then rule out other conditions such as Depression disorder, Anxiety disorder and Bipolar disorder based on the symptoms shown by your child so that an accurate diagnosis may be achieved.
ADHD can be treated with a combination of behavioural therapy and medications based on the symptoms of your child.
The following medications can be prescribed to your child to treat your child’s ADHD.
- Stimulants- Central Nervous Stimulants (CNS) are the most common type of medication which is used for the treatment of ADHD. Your doctor may recommend methylphenidate or amphetamine based stimulants. MRI studies have shown that long term treatment with these medications reduces the abnormalities in brain structure which are associated with ADHD.
- Non stimulants- These medications may be used in conjunction with stimulants. They do not have an added benefit on their own but they can be useful in addition with stimulants.
- Regular Exercise- Regular exercise including aerobic exercises have been known to improve the concentration abilities in children. Exercise can help children in focusing on their tasks and also give them a sense of accomplishment when they perform an exercise thus improving their self esteem.
- Healthy Diet- A healthy diet has been recommended in children to improve their health and their symptoms. A reduced amount of artificial food colouring and junk food in the diet of the person may help to reduce their symptoms.
- Behavioural Therapy- Teachers and Parents can take part in behavioural therapy as instructed by the doctor in order to modify the wrong habits of their child. The doctor will also instruct the parents on their parenting skills so that they can understand their child better.
- Psychotherapy- Older children with ADHD may benefit with psychotherapy as it will allow them to talk about their feelings and to discuss their issues and difficulties.
ADHD Home Remedies
Your doctor may also recommend some methods to take care of your child at your home. It is difficult to say whether these methods will be effective for your child or not. You can try these methods and see what works best for you.
- Show affection to your child- Shower your child with love and affection so that their self esteem may improve. Avoid nagging at your child for small mistakes and try to teach them about their mistakes affectionately.
- Find situations that trouble your child- Identify the situations that trouble your child and try to avoid them as much as possible. The situations may be long presentations in school, long school hours and even a vast variety of stores can overwhelm your child.
- Start using timeouts- You can start using gentle but firm timeouts in order to implement discipline in your child. You should also reward your child when they show good behaviour and discipline so that it encourages good behaviour and discipline in their children.
- Try to maintain a regular schedule- You should try to maintain a regular schedule for all the daily chores and activities. This will also promote discipline in your children and will also help them in maintaining a daily routine.
- Develop a habit of organisation- Try to encourage your child to start organising their room and work. This will help them to divide their attention effectively and also to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Promote Social Interaction- Encourage your child to take part in social interactions and teach them about the mannerisms of a good social interaction.
ADHD Coexisting Conditions
ADHD does not lead to other psychological conditions but it can exist with other conditions. Some of these conditions are given below,
- Learning disabilities- The child will be unable to read, write or even understand the spoken language effectively.
- Mood Disorders- The child may experience mood disorders which can even go up to violent aggressiveness.
- Substance Abuse- The child may also indulge in Substance abuse when they enter adulthood. This can lead to serious health and addiction issues.
- Anxiety Disorders- Low self esteem seen in ADHD children has also led to the development of Anxiety disorders in children as they get older.
- Tourette Syndrome- Tourette Syndrome is characterised by unwanted and repetitive sounds and movements which are hard to control.
FAQs Related to ADHD
ADHD can develop due to a variety of factors which include genetics, environmental factors and society but there is no definitive known cause.
ADHD can present itself with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. These symptoms may predominate in some patients while in other patients they can occur in combination.
ADHD does not lead to the development of other psychological conditions but it can occur in conjunction with other psychological conditions which makes it hard to diagnose.