ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is one of the most common Neurological developmental disorders present today. The challenge lies in diagnosing and recognizing symptoms. After that, managing them is do-able with the help of treatment and constant care and attention.
Its symptoms start in the childhood, but often leads on in the adult life, if not treated in its early phase.
Another point to note is that ADHD is a chronic condition and does not have a cure. It can only be managed by following a combination of treatments developed uniquely for every person by doctors, taking inputs from the patient, their parents and peers.
Symptoms of ADHD : How Can You Tell?
Generally, there are three groups in which ADHD in children can be divided :
A child is said to have the Inattentive ADHD if he/she :
Gets distracted frequently and easily
Doesn't follow directions or finish tasks
Doesn't seem to listen
Doesn't pay attention
Makes careless mistakes
Forgets about daily activities
Has problems organising daily tasks
Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still
Often loses and forgets things
Tends to daydream
Talks too much
Takes unnecessary risks
Has trouble in taking turns
Doesn't get along with people
Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. A child suffering from Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD :
Cannot sit still. Appears restless when sitting.
Finds it difficult to play quietly
Is in constant motion like running, climbing on things etc.
Talks more than usual
Cannot wait for their turn
Combination. This involves symptoms of both Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD.
As a child grows up, the symptoms of ADHD passes on and appear in the form of :
being more anxious than usual
Low confidence and self-esteem
Problems at the workplace and relationships
Trouble concentrating when reading
Causes of ADHD : Why does it occur?
There are no confirmed causes of ADHD but research is going on to better understand ADHD and how to treat and control it. Recent studies show that genetics play a major part in the appearance of ADHD in a child, which later advances on in the adult stage.
Other possible risk factors include:
Risk factors exposure during pregnancy or during childhood
Use of drugs, Alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy
Babies delivered prematurely
Low weight at the time of birth
Some people believe that other factors such as eating too much sugar or junk food, excessive screen time (watching TV, Computers or Mobile Phones), bad parenting, factors such as disturbed family environment or social life. These factors may make the already existing symptoms of ADHD worse, but do not cause it. No proof or research exists to support such beliefs.
How Is ADHD Treated?
Treatment for ADHD usually includes:
Medications: It improves the brain's capability to slow down, pay attention and to control itself.
Behavioral Therapy: Therapy can be used to develop social, emotional, and planning skills in children with ADHD. It includes:
Special Education: Creating a routine helps manage ADHD symptoms. There are special educators who help children manage the condition.
Behaviour Modification: creating rules for rewarding good behaviour and replacing bad behaviour with good ones by making simple, clear rules.
Psychotherapy: It includes counselling both the child to try and control their impulses and their parents to help the child as much as they can. It helps to improve the self esteem of the child and make them ready to face the world.
Social Skills training: It can help a child to engage in socially acceptable skills such as Turn taking and sharing which helps them connect with people around them.
Cranial Therapy: It is a technique which is used to relieve many symptoms of ADHD along with behaviour modification. It promotes the body to self heal by manipulating several nerves around the brain. Its effects are varied, but promising, with mostly no side effects. It helps focusing the brain and changes in behaviour.
Parent counselling: One of the best ways to help a child with ADHD is for the parents to understand the situation and how best to help and manage the behaviour of their child.
School Assistance: School Teachers can help children with ADHD thrive and enjoy school more.
CranioSacral Therapy: It is a gentle hands-on technique which manipulates the CSF (Cerebro spinal Fluid) around the brain to relieve many symptoms of ADHD such as Hyperactivity, cognitive functions, social behaviour, promotes a feeling of peace and tranquility among those affected.
How to help a Child with ADHD: A Parent's Guide
Some simple lifestyle changes can help a child with ADHD manage symptoms. These are not methods of treatment but they help keep ADHD in control. A parent should encourage his child to:
Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, carbs and protein. A gluten free diet is mostly recommended in such cases as Gluten tends to increase hyperactivity in ADHD cases.
Exercise every day. Playing some sport not only helps getting exercise, but also teaches them important social skills, such as how to follow rules and take turns.
Limit time spent on electronic devices.
Get optimum amount of sleep.
Lessen distractions in the room of the child and organise things properly.
Making clear and simple routines and schedules helps a child with ADHD.
Be honest about your expectations with the child. Make instructions simple and specific instead of generalised ones.
Good behavior of the child should be noted and rewarded.
Generally, children with ADHD have low self esteem. As a parent, you should do everything in your power to boost the child's self-esteem.
The child should be encouraged in his special strengths especially non-academic areas.
The child's doctors, teachers, and therapists should be kept in the loop and up to date with development of the child.
Keep Happy and Healthy!
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This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Amit Kumar (Osteopath, certified Chiropractor and Physiotherapist) and written by Gitanjali Dass