What Is ADHD?
A person with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has trouble paying attention, sitting still, and controlling their behaviors. Children and teens can experience this disorder, which can persist into adulthood.
Most children are diagnosed with ADHD. It is more common in boys than in girls. It’s usually detected early in a child’s educational career when he or she begins to have trouble paying attention.
There is no cure or prevention for ADHD. However, if you spot it early and have a good education plan and treatment, you can effectively manage ADHD symptoms.
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Symptoms in children
There are three types of ADHD symptoms:
Inattentive. When a child has ADHD:
- Distracted easily
- Does not follow directions or complete assignments
- Listens not at all
- Making careless mistakes due to lack of attention
- Ignores daily activities
- Organizes daily tasks poorly
- Doesn’t like to sit still while doing anything
- Has a tendency to lose things
- Is prone to daydreaming
Hyperactive-impulsive. When a child has ADHD:
- Sitting often results in squirming, fidgeting, or bouncing
- Stays seated too long
- Can’t play quietly
- Runs or climbs on things all the time. (In adults and teens, this is usually described as restlessness.)
- Talks a lot
- Is constantly “on the go” as if “driven by a motor”
- Is in a hurry to get their turn
- Answers in a blurt
- Interrupts other people
Combined. Both types of signs are involved in this.
ADHD adults symptoms
Adults with ADHD may experience different symptoms as they age. The following are among them:
- Being frequently late or forgetting to do things
- Self-esteem issues
- Work-related problems
- Anger management problems
- Using or abusing substances
- Being unable to stay organized
- Easily frustrated
- Bored easily
- Concentration problems when reading
- Swings in mood
- Problems with relationships
ADD vs. ADHD
ADHD was formerly known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). Since the 1990s, it has been officially changed. Both names are sometimes used to describe the same condition.
ADHD experts don’t know what causes it. It may be caused by several factors, including:
- Genes. Families tend to be affected by ADHD.
- Chemicals. ADHD is associated with an imbalance of brain chemicals.
- Changes in the brain. A child with ADHD has a smaller amount of brain activity in areas that control attention.
- Nutritional deficiencies, infections, smoking, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The brain development of a baby can be influenced by these things.
- Lead and other toxins. These factors may affect the development of the brain in children.
- The injury or disorder of the brain. Damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls emotions and impulses, can lead to problems controlling them.
ADHD is not caused by sugar. ADHD is also not caused by too much TV, poor schools, food allergies. or stressful living conditions.
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Testing and Diagnosis of ADHD
The diagnosis of ADHD, especially in children, can be challenging. It will not be detected by any test. Children and teens are diagnosed with ADHD following extensive discussions with parents, teachers, and the child.
Based on how much a person experiences and how long they have been experiencing symptoms, doctors use the American Psychiatric Association’s guidelines. They may also rule out other causes of symptoms, including health conditions or everyday problems.
A child may undergo neurological and psychological tests to determine if they have ADHD or learning differences. ADHD tests should be administered by physicians or other mental health providers experienced in diagnosing and treating the condition.
If necessary, your primary care physician may recommend you to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, psychologist. Testing may consist of the following:
- Children and their families should be given a medical history and social history.
- Examine vision, hearing, verbal skills, and motor abilities, in addition to a physical examination and neurological assessment. Further tests may be conducted if it is believed that hyperactivity is caused by another physical problem.
- Testing to determine a person’s intelligence, aptitude, processing, or personality abilities. If a child is in school, the parents and teachers are often involved in this process.
- NEBA measures theta and beta brain waves in a scan called Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA). Research has shown that adolescents and children with ADHD have a higher theta/beta ratio than typical children.
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ADHD can be treated in several ways. However, research suggests that multimodal treatment is the most successful approach for many children who experience symptom management. This involves combining multiple treatment methods.
Medications and therapy can manage many ADHD symptoms. A close relationship between doctors, therapists, teachers, and parents is extremely important.
The most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD is stimulants, even though there is controversy regarding their possible overuse. Hyperactive and impulsive behaviors can be controlled with them, and they can also improve attention spans.
These substances act on brain chemicals, including dopamine, to increase impulsive behavior.
The following are among them:
- Amphetamine (Adzenys XR ODT, Dyanavel)
- Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
- Dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine)
- Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
- A variety of methylphenidates (Aptensio, Daytrana, Cotempla, Metadate, Concerta, Methylin, Jornay PM, Quillivant, Ritalin) are available.
Some stimulant medications do not work for all ADHD patients. Non-stimulant medications can be taken by people older than 6 years old, such as:
- Atomoxetine (Strattera)
- Clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay)
- Guanfacine (Intuniv)
There are cases in which doctors prescribe antidepressants, including SSRI, venlafaxine (Effexor), or bupropion (Wellbutrin).
Many types of antidepressants are used as treatments for depression, like SSRIs, bupropion (Wellbutrin), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
ADHD medicines may cause the following side effects:
- A lack of appetite
- Sleeping problems
- Discoloration of the skin (with patches)
- Stomach upset
It is common for minor side effects to disappear over time. To reduce side effects, some doctors will reduce a dosage.
Rarely, stimulants can cause more severe side effects. Children with heart disease are more likely to suffer heart problems and die after taking some. These drugs may also aggravate mental conditions like anxiety or depression, or even trigger a psychotic reaction.
Consult your doctor before starting your child on ADHD medication. You may have to try a few different types of medicine to find the one that works best for you.
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Behavioral therapies aim to change behaviors.
- Special education offers a child a chance to succeed at school. Kids with ADHD can benefit greatly from structure and a routine.
- Good behaviors can be replaced by bad ones through behavior modification. Set clear expectations for your child. Make your rules simple and clear. Make them face consequences based on your rules, like timeouts or losing privileges, when they lose control. Observe good behavior. Reward them when they control their impulses.
- Psychotherapy (counseling) can help people with ADHD learn how to better deal with frustration and emotions. By doing so, they might feel more confident. Family members might also benefit from counseling if they want to better understand a child or adult with ADHD.
- Training in social skills can help develop certain behaviors, including taking turns and sharing.
Medical device: Monarch external trigeminal nerve stimulation (eTNS) has been approved by the FDA for use in children aged 7 to 12 who do not take ADHD medications. An electrode patch is attached to it and should be placed on a child’s forehead.
It’s about as big as a cellphone. These impulses are sent to the part of their brains that causes ADHD. It is generally worn at night.
Having support groups of individuals who have similar complaints and needs can improve your knowledge about ADHD and how to manage it. ADHD adults and ADHD parents can benefit from these groups.
ADHD and education: ADHD treatment should also include educating parents regarding the disorder and managing it. In order to do this, parents may have to learn how to help their children manage their behavior. Occasionally, children’s entire families are involved.
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Some research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids can benefit ADHD patients. You can also manage symptoms by making the following lifestyle changes:
- Ensure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein.
- Make sure you exercise every day. Exercise helps kids with ADHD control impulses and other behaviors. Join a basketball team, soccer team, or baseball team for your child. Kids who participate in sports not only get exercise, but also learn important social skills like taking turns and following rules.
- Don’t spend too much time on electronics.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Improve your child’s organization and decrease distractions in their room.
You will probably feel frustrated with your child if he or she has ADHD. Taking part in your child’s treatment will make you feel in control. You may find it helpful to:
- Maintain a clear schedule and routine.
- Let your child know what you expect of them simply and honestly. Instead of general (“Get ready for school.”) instructions, go for simple, specific ones (“Brush your teeth. Now, get dressed. “).
- When you’re talking to your child, focus your attention on them only.
- Ensure your behavior is calm and focused.
- Ensure that others follow your discipline methods, and be consistent with it.
- Reward positive behavior.
- Boost the self-esteem of your child. People with problematic processing abilities may receive a lot of corrections, making them feel low about themselves. Make sure your child has a high sense of self-esteem.
- Sports and outside-of-school activities are excellent ways to help your child develop special strengths.
- Get as much information about impulsive behavior and ADHD as you can.
- Make sure that your child’s doctor, teacher, and therapist know what’s going on.
- Become a member of a support group for parents who have faced the same issues as you.
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Outlook for ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can make it challenging to cope with everyday challenges without treatment. Social skills may be difficult to learn or develop for some children.
People can have relationship issues and addiction problems as adults. A person with this condition may also experience low self-esteem, mood swings, eating disorders, depression, risk-taking, and conflicts with others.
ADHD has a positive effect on most people’s lives. Treatment is helpful.
Regularly seeing your doctor and tracking your symptoms are crucial. The effectiveness of medications and treatments that once were effective can wane over time.
A change in treatment may be necessary. Early adulthood can bring relief for many symptoms, and some people can stop taking medications.