Overlooking and ignoring a hyperactive child by calling him a “disobedient kid” is a widespread practice in our culture. But that kid with no concentration in studying may have been suffering with a serious mental illness called ADHD or “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”
This neurodevelopmental disorder is common among children but often lasts till adulthood. A few of the key symptoms are above-normal levels of hyperactivity and uncontrollable impulsive behaviors. Shockingly, in a rough estimation, 7.2% or 129 million children worldwide have ADHD.
According to research, ADHD is likely to be a genetical, brain-based disorder. A gene that creates dopamine, which controls the brain’s ability to maintain regular attention, can have the link to ADHD. Some findings say, less volume of the brain’s grey matter can be one factor of ADHD. Other than these, scientists are exploring other causes of ADHD. Some includes:
- Brain injury
- Contact with toxic environmental materials such as lead at a young age or during pregnancy
- Premature delivery
- Low birth weight
One popular notion is that eating too much sugar makes children hyperactive, but research does not support that at all.
However, diagnosing ADHD is a complicated process as there is no single test to determine. Hearing and visual tests, interviewing, collecting medical history help to rule out other problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, learning disabilities) gradually. This process goes on for at least 6 months, and that is how doctors try to predict if a child has ADHD or not.
Types of ADHD
There are three major types of ADHD. These are explained below:
Inactive or distractible type: You can get an idea by the name. This is where a child cannot follow instructions, or put attention to detail. Easily forgets tasks, dates, or other stuff. Distracted by minor events is another way to describe this type. Although, this type does not include impulsiveness.
Impulsive or hyperactive type: This is the opposite of the previous one. Children with no problem with attention but an impulse behavior are drawn under this category. For instance, it is hard for children to sit still in the same place for long, interrupt others, speak inappropriately, or grab other’s things. But this is the least common type of ADHD.
Combined type: Both of the previous types are included here. Unfortunately, this is the most common category prevailing among children.
The symptoms are similar to the types mentioned above. But children can develop other symptoms too. Some or most of the following symptoms are apparent among ADHD patient including adults:
- Short attention span, particularly in those activities which they do not prefer
- Daydream almost all the time
- Hyperactive (not only physically, but also mentally)
- Reckless behavior due to impulsiveness
- Forget or lose their stuff
- Over-talking, have difficulty making friends
- Difficulty in organizing or multitasking
- Excessive procrastination
- Inability to control emotions, especially anger or frustration
- Do not want or can follow instructions
- Cannot wait for turns
- No sense of time management
Treatment of ADHD sometimes requires behavior therapy or medication or both. There are few factors that decide what is essential. For instance:
- Child’s age, health, and medical history
- Intensity of child’s symptoms
- Tolerance for particular medicines or therapies
- Timeline of the condition
Psychostimulant Medications are the most effective treatment among children with ADHD. These medicines help balance chemicals in the brain that disallows children to maintain attention and impulses. In other words, these help to stimulate the brain to focus. These reduce the symptoms as well.
Another way is behavioral therapy. This helps to teach children how to monitor their behavior and manage them. Psychotherapy or talk therapy also helps, which requires discussing ADHD with children.
ADHD is a serious concern as it is only growing among children as well as adults. We need to look deeply into a hyperactive child and stop blaming them for that. So, if you notice an unusuality in a child, go address a doctor immediately.