Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a kind of mental disorder that impacts a person’s ability to pay attention and control their impulse behaviors. The affected person may stay restless or can also remain active constantly. Children are the most common victim of this disorder but it also persists in adults too.

The affected children face immense difficulty in managing their school and home life. This most commonly diagnosed children’s mental disorder is more common in boys than girl children. Mostly this health concern is identified in the very early years of schooling when a child started facing trouble in paying attention and controlling their impulse. Adults with ADHD condition have difficulty in managing time, organizing things, setting a goal, meeting targets, and holding a job.

Usually, the symptoms of ADHD begin in childhood and continues through their teenage and adulthood stage of life. Though some of the symptoms like hyperactivity improve as a child enters in his or her teenage but other issues like inattention, difficulty in impulse control and disorganization generally continues through their teenage and in adulthood age too, making it simply impossible to live a normal life on the personal, professional, and social ground.

There are treatment options available for relieving this mental disorder but alone it cannot bring any effective result unless supported by a good support group that comes from family, friends, and society as well.

Causes

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)The actual cause of ADHD health condition is not known however based on the researches to date following things are considered responsible for this mental disorder-

  • Brain Injury- Any significant brain injury such as damage to the front side of the brain known as the frontal lobe can lead to difficulties in controlling emotions and impulses.
  • Health Negligence During Pregnancy- During the pregnancy period if a woman does not eat enough amount of nutritious food needed for baby growth or get a victim of infections, or used to indulge in unhealthy lifestyle throughout this journey, including smoking, drinking and substance abuse then these things are likely to impact the brain development of the baby inside the womb.
  • Brain Chemicals Imbalance- It is found in researches that people with ADHD health conditions usually have brain chemicals imbalance. These chemicals regulate the important function of the brain so any imbalance in them affects the normal controlling and behavioral function of the ADHD patient.
  • Changes in Brain Anatomy- The area of brain that controls the attention function has found less active in people diagnosed with AHDH disorder.
  • Genes and Heredity- ADHD tends to run in families. Every 1 out of 4 ADHD affected children often have a family member either immediate parent i.e. mother or father or any other close relative like siblings in the family having the history of this mental disorder. In fact, in some cases, ADHD is diagnosed in a parent at the same time when it is diagnosed in the child.
  • Environmental Toxins- This is a rare condition still it happens that environmental toxins such as lead in the body can impact the developmental and behavioral pattern of a child’s brain making him or her victim of ADHD.
  • Prematurity- Prematurity in a child increases the risk of developing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

It is important here to note that excessive sugar intake doesn’t lead to ADHD which many people have a myth about. Also, this mental disorder does not arise as a result of food allergies, dissatisfactory or poor home or school life, or due to watching too much TV.

Though this condition is not a preventive health condition or curable one, still if it is identified in its early stages then with a good treatment plan and education plan an ADHD affected child or adult can cope up with its symptoms leading a successful life.

Symptoms

As per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), ADHD is identified into three subtypes including-

  • Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
  • Primarily Inattentive Type (previously known as ADD)
  • Primarily Combined Type

In the case of the first two types of ADHD the patient develops different and unique symptoms whereas in the third type the patient develops mixed symptoms including the symptoms of the first two types.

Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive Type Symptoms

In the case of primarily hyperactive-impulsive subtype of ADHD, the patient acts as if driven by a motor with very little control over impulse. In these cases, people squirm, move, and talk even when not required or in the most inappropriate timing. These patients are impatient, impulsive, and interrupt others. They usually develop the following symptoms-

  • These patients often wriggle, squirm in the seat, and tap their hands and feet.
  • The affected patient leaves their seat even in a situation when they are expected to be seated in their place like suddenly they leave the seat in their classroom, office, etc without any necessity.
  • They start running or try to climb in a situation when it is not needed. In the case of teenagers or adults, this kind of feeling is limited to restlessness.
  • They face difficulty in enjoying or indulging in playful leisure activities staying quietly.
  • They can’t stay still for an extended time as they often remain in the mode of “on the go” behaving as if “driven by a motor”. Due to this reason these patients feel restless and uncomfortable to stay calmly in their place while in a meeting, restaurant, etc.
  • They often talk too much even when they are not expected for the same.
  • Often replies an answer even without waiting for the question to be finished by the speaker. For example, they complete other’s sentences without waiting for the conversation to come to its end.
  • While standing in a queue they can’t wait patiently and move forward even their turn has not come.
  • They often interrupt or encroach on others. In the case of adolescents or adults, they intrude into others what they are doing. In the case of children, they butt into games, conversations, and other activities.

Primarily Inattentive Type Symptoms

A primarily inattentive subtype of ADHD affected person easily gets distracted from his or her primary focus point and remains forgetful. They are generally daydreamers who easily lose track of conversations, homework, and cell phones on a regular basis. They usually develop the following symptoms-

  • These patients often make careless mistakes in their school homework, at the official works and while doing other activities often overlooks or misses minor or big details that ultimately make their work inaccurate.
  • While doing any task or playing or indulging in activities they face difficulty in sustaining attention. As a result of these issues, such patients have difficulty in attaining lectures, conversations and during a lengthy reading.
  • They get distracted easily which can be understood easily while having a conversation with them. They are bad listeners; their mind seems elsewhere even if there is no particular reason for distraction.
  • They often fail to follow instructions given by their teachers, resulting in they fail to finish their school’s homework or classwork, chores, and responsibilities at the workplace. For example, even though they start work with enthusiasm but lose track quickly and sidetracked.
  • They are disorganized by nature and this personality trait comes out of this mental disorder. Often they face problems in organizing their tasks and any other activities. As a result of this issue, this type of ADHD affected patient has difficulty in managing sequential tasks, organizing, or keeping things in proper order. They have poor time management and fail to meet deadlines.
  • These patients usually try to avoid tasks that need sustained attention or mental effort such as school homework etc. In the case of adolescents and older adults, they show reluctance in reviewing long papers, filling forms, and preparing reports.
  • In the case of children, they easily get distracted with irrelevant or extraneous stimuli. In the case of adolescents or adults, they get distracted by unrelated and useless thoughts.
  • They often forget important things necessary for performing tasks or activities such as pencils, books, school materials, tools, keys, wallets, mobile phones, eyeglasses, and documents.
  • They exhibit their forgetful behavior while doing their everyday life activities such as while running errands, doing chores, etc. In the case of adolescents and adults they often forget to pay bills, returning calls, and important appointments.

Primarily Combined Type Symptoms

A primarily combined sub-type of ADHD affected patient including all age groups display the mixture of all the symptoms mentioned above.

ADHD Treatment

Though there is no definite cure for ADHD still its symptoms can be reduced and functioning can be improved to a great extent with the help of currently available treatment plans. This mental disorder is generally treated with prescribed medications, therapies, training, or education and the combinations of all treatment plans.

Medication

The medication doses help in relieving impulsivity and hyperactivity. It aids in improving their focus, learning power, and performing school or official work. The medication that is the first line of treatment of the ADHD patient is stimulants.

  • Stimulants- Though it seems contradictory to treat a condition like ADHD with stimulants medication but it is truly effective. As per the researchers, the reason behind the effectiveness of these medications for ADHD treatment is their ability to increase the level of a chemical called dopamine also known as the happy hormone. With increase release of this brain chemical patient’s attention and thinking power increases.
  • Non-Stimulants- Non-Stimulants medications take a comparatively longer time to work than the stimulants but are effective in improving attention, focus, and impulsivity. This type of medication is generally prescribed under the condition where an ADHD affected patient is developing troublesome side effects out of their stimulants intake or if stimulant was proved effective. Also, it is prescribed in a combination with a stimulant for increasing its effectiveness. Two popular non-stimulants medications include Guanfacine and Atomoxetine.
  • Antidepressants- Though antidepressants are not an FDA approved medication for the treatment of ADHD health condition still it is prescribed by the doctors in certain cases for the treatment of an ADHD affected adult person. An older antidepressant called Tricyclics works as a stimulant in some cases by increasing the release of good brain chemicals such as dopamine and Thus it helps in improving the symptoms of the affected patient effectively.

All these medications are available in different brands and types. Each one of them is accompanied by their specific benefits as well as side effects risk. So for the best possible result in terms of symptoms reduction and functionality improvement initially different medications and doses should be tried to discover the most effective medication and its doses that work in a particular case scenario.

In case you develop any bothersome side effect then, without making further delay you should immediately contact your doctor. Your doctor may change your medication or doses so that it can work better on you. Based on all the testing and trails your healthcare provider will prescribe a particular medication dose for a longer duration to get the desired level result by improving your symptoms.

Therapy

There are many recognized therapies that work very effectively in the treatment of ADHD affected children and adults. Though the effectiveness of these therapies for ADHD symptoms improvement is not proved in researches still it works better when combined with other ADHD treatment plans. The combined treatment procedure helps both patients and their families in coping with their day to day life challenges that arise out of ADHD symptoms growth.

  • Therapy for Children and Teens- In case of an ADHD affected child or teenager his or her parents and teachers can do a wonderful job by assisting them to stay more organized and follow their instruction and directions with the help of some tools like organizing everyday items, keeping a schedule or routine, encouraging them to use homework and notebook organizers. In this regard praising the child from time to time whenever they manage to do or organize their task and things properly can work as a natural stimulant for their brain. They must be rewarded every time when they follow rules correctly.
  • Therapy for Adults- A licensed therapist or mental health specialists can help appropriately to an adult affected with ADHD mental disorder. They will guide and make them learn the ways of organizing his or her life in a much better way with the help of many tools. These tools help an ADHD affected person to keep and maintain routines, as well as get an idea to segregate a large task into small-small one to bring it in a manageable position.

Education and Training

Apart from medication and therapies for ADHD symptoms treatment, this health condition needs much extra care and attention from the caregiver's sides like parents, family members, and teachers as well. The supports of all of them helps a lot in increasing the effectiveness of other treatment plans to cope up with everyday difficulties that an ADHD affected patient has to face.

In this regards the parents, families, and teachers need special training and education that can help the affected children and adults to reach their full potential and live a successful life. A mental health professional can better educate parents and children about this health condition and how it is going to affect their life in the future. Different training programs are available for children, adults, parents, and family members that teach new attitudes, skills and ways to relate with each other. Some common ADHD education and training programs are discussed below-

  • Parenting Skills Training- In this particular training program, the parents are taught new parenting skills in which they learn how to appreciate, encourage and reward their children for their every small or trifling success or for their positive behaviors.
  • Support Groups Program- In the support groups program the ADHD affected children or adult’s parent and family members get the opportunity to meet and connect with other parents and families who are dealing with the same issues and concerns.
  • Stress Management Techniques- The stress management techniques are beneficial and necessary for the parents of ADHD affected children and for the family members of the ADHD affected adults This is because it is they who has to take care of them all the time and need to provide them support with positive mind frame. In this condition getting stressed is usual which must be managed on time with the help of stress bursting techniques.

As per the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) treatment plan is concerned no single treatment technique is sufficient in itself. The combination of medications, behavioral therapy, counseling, and cooperation from parents, families, and teachers as well as support groups can work positively in improving the condition and lifestyle of ADHD affected patients.

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