Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – All you Need to Know

Filed in Health by on August 29, 2021 0 Comments

What is ADHD? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD may also have trouble focusing or completing a single task or sitting still at a place for a long period of time.

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder( ADHD) can occur in both adults and children.

A child with ADHD is usually in pre-school or early school years.

The diagnosis of ADHD is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association(APA).

ADHD Symptoms

ADHD is associated with a spectrum of behaviors and attitudes. The most common among them include:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to complete a task
  • Hyperactivity
  • Erratic behavior
  • Reading and writing difficulty
  • Fidgeting
  • Interrupting people while they are talking
  • Undisciplined
  • Always breaking things at home
  • Generally untidy and unkept

If a patient has ADHD, there may presence of some or all of these symptoms some or all of these symptoms.

There are different types of ADHD, the symptoms present depends on the type that the patient has.

Types of ADHD

In order to establish definite criteria for diagnosing ADHD,  the American Psychiatry Association has categorically grouped ADHD into 3 types as:

  1. Predominantly inattentive
  2. Predominantly hyperactivity-impulsive
  3. Combination of both

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  • PREDOMINANTLY INATTENTIVE

As the name suggests, patients with this type of ADHD experience extreme difficulty in listening or focusing, completing a task, Or adhering to instructions.

Professionals are on the opinion that children with the inattentive type of ADHD will be difficult to diagnose owing to their quietness in the classroom. Inattentive ADHD is mostly common in girls.

  • PREDOMINANTLY HYPERACTIVE-IMPULSIVE

In this type of ADHD,  the patient is preoccupied with hyperactive and impulsive behaviors.

They can present with the following:

  • Overflow of talks
  • Fidgeting
  • Interrupting others while talking and not waiting for their own turn.

The inattention type is less common while common than the hyperactive-impulsive type,  though may still find it difficult to focus on task.Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

COMBINED HYPERACTIVE-IMPULSIVE AND ANTTENTION TYPE

combine hyperactive-impulsive type is the commonest type of ADHD. patients with this type of present with both hyperactivity and lack of attention. Other symptoms include impulsive acts,  high levels of energy and inability to pay attention.

From the foregoing,  the type of treatment to be received depends on the type of ADHD. This disorder can change over time from one type to another and so the treatment does.

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ADD vs. ADHD

Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD) is different from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

However, ADD is an outdated term used to describe those with attention deficit without hyperactivity. Therefore, it has been replaced with the first subtype of ADHD called “Predominantly Inattentive” type.

ADHD is the current trending name given to this group of disorders. It Officially came into existence in May 2013 following the publishing of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 by the American Psychiatry Associations(APA).

This manual is in uniform across the world and used by Doctors when making a diagnosis.

Adult ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD is the same in sixty percent of children,  however, the symptoms get less with increase in age.

It is vital that this condition is treated once diagnosed because if left untreated can have a negative impact in the quality of life. There are usually problems in terms of time management, forgetfulness and impatience which can cause problem in interpersonal relationships and in the workplace.

ADHD in Children

According to recent studies, 1 in every 10 children between the ages of 5-17years are diagnosed with ADHD, making it one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders suffered by children in the United States of America.

In children,  it is usually a problem for children with ADHD to succeed at school. This is because they find it difficult to get along in a classroom learning environment.

ADHD has a predilection for males than females, and therefore are diagnosed more in males. This could be due to males being able to exhibit an act of hyperactivity more than females. While some affected females can present with hyperactivity, many don’t. Rather female with ADHD can present with the following:

  • Talkativeness
  • Frequent Daydreaming

Though most of the symptoms of ADHD are closely related to normal behavior seen in childhood,  So it may be a little difficult sometimes to distinguish classical ADHD and normal behavior.

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What Causes ADHD?

The exact cause of ADHD is not known. However, it is thought that certain perinatal insults in a genetically predisposed child can give rise to this problem. E.g Low cerebral blood flow(Ischaemia) during  the perinatal period, in a genetically predisposed infant, can lead to impaired Dopamine transmission and in turn leads to ADHD.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain which helps to relay information as well as signals from one neuron to another thereby leading to emotional responses.

Other causes could be due to structural malformations in the brain. E.g Research has shown that those with ADHD have a reduced volume of grey matter compared to those that don’t have ADHD.

The grey matter of the brain is part of the brain responsible for the following:

  • Self-control
  • Muscle control
  • Decision making
  • Speech

Potential causes such as smoking during pregnancy is still under study to know whether it contributes to the development of ADHD in children.

ADHD Testing and Diagnosis

There is no specific laboratory test to show whether a child has ADHD or not. Rather the diagnosis of ADHD is clinical. This clinical diagnosis is based on history taking,  physical examination, and possible investigations.

This involves the assessment of prevailing behavioral changes for the past 6 months.

While taking a history, information may be gathered from teachers in school or closed family members, then using a checklist to review the most occurring symptoms.

Physical examination may also reveal other underlying health conditions.

Once a child is suspected to have ADHD,  it is important to visit a doctor for proper evaluation.

The school management can also be consulted for counseling on his/her academic performance.

For the assessment, provide your doctor or counselor with notes and observations about you or your child’s behavior.

Once ADHD is suspected, the child should be referred to a pediatric neurologist. In severe cases,  a psychiatrist can also be consulted.

 ADHD Treatment

Basically the treatment of ADHD is both medications and behavioral therapies.

this includes:

  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy: Here the child is engaged in a discussion on how this disorder affects his or her life and possible ways of its management.
  • Behavioral Therapy: This involves teaching the patient the best ways to manage and restrain some behaviors.
  • Medications: This is also helpful because they help build up deficient chemicals in the brain and as well help to control impulsive behaviors and actions.

ADHD Medication

In the treatment of ADHD,  two major medications are used as:

  • Stimulants
  • Non-stimulants

The Stimulants: Stimulants acts on the Central Nervous System(CNS). Their pharmacodynamics is that they increases the level of neurotransmitters like Dopamine and norepinephrine, these helps to modulate activities and behaviors. Examples of such drugs include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine

Non-stimulants: If stimulants is not tolerated for the child or posing serious adverse effects,  non-stimulants medications can be recommended. Their pharmacodynamics is that they increaes the level of norepinephrine in the central nervous system( Brain).

Examples of non-stimulants includes:

  • Atomoxetine
  • Bupropion( Antidepressant).

Just like with other medications,  the drugs for ADHD has many benefits as well as some side effects.

Natural Remedies for ADHD.

In as much as medications are necessary for the treatment of ADHD, some natural remedies exist which cam be followed to improve the symptoms of ADHD.

Below are the natural remedies recommended by the Center for disease control and prevention (CDC):

  • Healthy Balanced diet
  • Exercise
  • Lessen the amount of time devoted to Tv,  and phone screen.
  • Enough sleep
  • Spending time outdoors

Take time to meditate.

Recent studies have proven that Meditation is very important in this case. This is because it helps one to be organized,  improves reasoning, enhances thought processes and reduces anxiety and depression.

One also need to avoid foods or drinks that contains allergens that he or she reacts to as a way of reducing the symptoms of ADHD.

Is ADHD a Disability?

Attention Deficit hyperactive disorder is not a disability or a learning disorder, rather it is a neurodevelopmental disorder.

However, a severe form of ADHD can complicate a learning process because there is no attention or focus. Also there is a possible coexistence of ADHD in one who has a learning disability.

For effective management of ADHD efforts are needed in the part of their teachers to set aside special time for teaching them. Teachers can also encourage them with special awards on things they were able to do well.

ADHD can have lifetime effects if not properly managed irrespective that it is not a disability.

ADHD and Depression

Children with ADHD is more prone to severe depression. Studies have shown that the percentage of severe depression in children with ADHD is 5 times higher than in those without ADHD. Also over 31 percent of adults with ADHD is found to have depression.

These may seem to be a heartbreaking situation,  but the goodnews is that the treatment for both are available, which often overlap. Medications like: Talk therapies & Antidepressant(Bupropion), can help alleviate the symptoms.

Note that having ADHD is not sine equa non to having depression, but it is possible for both to coexist.

Tips for Coping with ADHD

Consistent schedules and regular reminders to get along on chores and daily activities can help adults or children with ADHD.

For adults these reminders my includes:

  • To do list
  • Using calendar
  • Alarm

These can help the patient to stay always organized.

For children, it may include:

  • Focusing on writing down homework and assignments.
  • Task of keeping everyday items, such as toys and backpacks, in assigned spots.

Getting more acquainted with the disorder, in general, can help to get more tips on how to manage it.

Patients can identify with some Organizations like “Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder”. Such associations can provide tips for management as well as the latest information on the disease.

Physician can be of help in providing guidance on the best ways to manage the symptoms of ADHD.

Outlook

In both adults and children, ADHD if left untreated can have diverse adverse effects on the patient, ranging from distorted personality to inability to initiate,  maintain, and sustain healthy interpersonal relationships. It can affects the child’s performance in school,  as well as adults in place of work.

However, all hope is not lost because people that had ADHD still lead a good,  successful, meaningful and fulfilling life.

If you notice that either you or your child have the tendency of developing ADHD,  it is vital that you visit a Doctor,  for he will help you to create a management plan that will be best for you or your child.

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