ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that usually affects people’s behavior. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. People with ADHD may seem restless, have trouble paying attention, control impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. (1) According to a survey, 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD.
Children who have ADHD may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and poor performance in school. For some people with ADHD their symptoms may decrease with age.
Treatments for ADHD usually involve medications and behavioral interventions. While these treatments don’t cure ADHD, their symptoms can be easier to deal with. Early diagnosis and treatments can make a significant impact on the outcome.
Many ADHD symptoms are generally common to young children, i.e., higher than usual activity levels, difficulty remaining still for longer durations, and limited attention spans. Children with ADHD experience hyperactivity and inattention that are significantly more than they should be for their age and causes distress and may or may not cause problems at home, school, or with friends.
ADHD can be diagnosed as one of the three types:
- Inattentive type
- Hyperactivity/Impulsive type
- Combined type
Inattentive types may show some or all of the following symptoms:
- Don’t pay close attention to details.
- Have a problem staying focused on tasks or activities.
- Don’t seem to listen when spoken to.
- Do not follow on given instructions and don’t complete schoolwork, chores, or job duties.
- Have difficulty organizing work and tasks.
- Avoid or dislike tasks that require prolonged mental effort, such as preparing reports or completing forms.
- Often lose things needed for tasks or in daily life.
- Get distracted easily.
- Forget daily tasks or errands.
Hyperactive/impulsive types may show some or all of the following symptoms:
- Fidget with or tap around their hands and feet or squirm in seat.
- Have difficulty staying seated.
- Run around or climb on things inappropriately.
- Are unable to play or do leisure activities quietly.
- Seem always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor.
- Talk too much.
- Complete other people’s sentences or answer before questions are finished.
- Have difficulty waiting for their turn, such as when in a line.
- Interrupt or intrude on others in conversations, games, or activities without permission.
While the root cause of ADHD is unknown, the condition has run in families and is largely genetic.
Research has also identified several possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD when compared with those without the condition.
Other factors that may have a potential role in ADHD are:
- Premature birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy),
- Being underweight at birth,
- Smoking, alcohol abuse or drug abuse during pregnancy.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can affect people of any intellectual ability. It is also possible for people to have both ADHD and learning disorders such as dyslexia.
There is no cure for ADHD, but the symptoms in children and adults can be managed and improved with appropriate educational support and accommodations, parenting/relational support, behavioral strategies, psychotherapy and medications.