What is ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
The incidence of ADHD in children is on the rise. Some data show that over 10% of children ages 5 -17 in the USA have the disorder. Especially, ADHD in pre-school age boys is being an increasing problem, mostly in the developed nations.
There isn’t any diagnostic laboratory test for ADHD. A lot of information is needed about child’s daily functions from family members, child care givers, school teachers etc. for the diagnosis.
3 Types of Presentations of ADHD
- Hyperactive-Impulsive —predominantly hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms
- Inattentive — predominantly have symptoms of inattention
- Combined —shows BOTH inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms
Symptoms of ADHD
- Difficulty to control anger and prone to outbursts
- Trouble keeping their emotions in control, showing outbursts, tantrums
- Being very impatient, in constant motion
- Difficulties to build social relationships and end up with troubles at school
- Self-focus; inability to recognize other people’s needs and desires
- Having difficulty listening others, waiting in line or taking turns
- Can’t sit still, get up and run around, fidget, or squirm when forced to sit
- Often have trouble falling asleep
- Loss of connection between actions and consequences
- Acts and speaks with impulses, without thinking
- Trouble focusing on any new subject, paying attention for extended time
- Being forgetful about daily activities, forgetting or losing important things
- Easily gets distracted by irrelevant stimuli, like sights and sounds
- Avoids or is reluctant to engage in things that require a lot of mental effort
- Difficulty for following instructions, making careless mistakes
- Quickly losing interest before finishing tasks, easily getting bored
- Easily confused, slow moving and sometimes lethargic
- Fails to follow instructions and process them slowly and less accurately
- Trouble organizing tasks and activities, show messy, disorganized work
ADHD children are not necessarily less intelligent than others, but some learning disabilities are attached to ADHD. Procrastination can be obvious with ADHD personality. Anxiety is very common finding with ADHD (30-40%). Also, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety and panic disorder can be seen with ADHD.
Children can show some of these behaviours at some point. Fidgeting, forgetting, paying less attention are all common symptoms in childhood. However, it should be alarming signs if:
- the child displays 6 or more signs of ADHD more than 6 months of time
- the behaviour show negative impact on their social and academic life
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, learn the treatment options by consulting a health care provider. ADHD shouldn’t prevent your child from receiving a good education. It is treatable.
There is a concern that ADHD is being over diagnosed because of societal pressure for treatment of certain behaviours and due to exhausted caregivers. But some experts say that ADHD is simply becoming more widely known, and with increased awareness, more children are diagnosed and getting the treatment they really need.
Author: Dr. Tina Ureten