Contrary to common belief, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) does not just affect children. It is a mental disorder characterized by above-normal levels of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior that can affect people. But how can we really tell if we have it? And, are there ways to manage it?
ADHD is a result of the interplay of genetic and non-genetic factors.
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the disorder is said to have been caused by factors like bad genes, substance abuse among mothers during pregnancy, exposure to environmental toxins like lead during childhood, an unhealthy birth weight and brain injuries.
It has three types that can affect both adults and kids.
There are three categories of ADHD, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This includes predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactivity-impulsive, and a combination of both. People who is affected by the predominantly inattentive ADHD, most often, are the ones not getting the right diagnosis as they do not disrupt other people's activities. People with the hyperactive-impulsive type, on the other hand, is characterized by disruptive behavior like fidgeting, interrupting people, and being extremely impatient to wait for their turn or to focus on a task. Those who have the combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type can be inattentive and hyperactive and have above-normal levels of activity and energy. These three types will determine the kind of treatment that a patient will be receiving.
ADHD is different from Autism.
Simply said, ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that hinders the person to focus, be organized or listen attentively. Autism, on the other hand, is a developmental disorder that largely affects a person's communication and interaction skills. Kids with ADHD have a hard time following social rules and keeping friends while, those with autism cannot make friends because of having difficulty in understanding and making sense of social cues.
ADHD can exists in adults and, if left untreated, can have a negative impact in relationships.
It was said that the ADHD symptoms that children have experienced will not completely disappear when they grow up and become adults. Instead, these symptoms will just decrease and become less frequent with age. If left untreated, this can have a negative effect on an individual as s/he may have trouble managing time, bouts of forgetfulness and impatience at work. With those type of unsociable behavior, relationships are expected to be affected.
ADHD is one of the most common childhood mental disorders in the United States.
It is said that there are at least 6.4 million children in the US in the 4-7 age group who have been diagnosed with ADHD. This phenomenon made these kids a big problem in the classroom as they have trouble following rules and being controlled in a classroom setting.
The disorder occurs mostly in boys than girls. Boys with ADHD tend to display hyperactivity while girl sufferers daydream frequently and get anxious and depressed most of the time. They also tend to be hypertalkative and overemotional.
Stimulants are the first line of treatment for ADHD.
This might sound odd but stimulants like atomoxetine and guanfacine have been found effective to decrease hyperactivity by increasing the brain chemical dopamine which greatly affects a person's thinking and attention. However, there are also non-stimulants used to treat the disorder but these can take a longer effect than what stimulants can do. Doctors only give this kind of medication when the patient reacts negatively to stimulants.
Antidepressants are, sometimes, administered to adult patients with ADHD.
Adult sufferers are often given antidepressants rather than stimulants to regulate hyperactivity. The medicine tricyclics is a common example as it triggers the production of brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. These substances, however, should be closely monitored by a doctor, the expert who will decide whether to adjust dosage or change prescriptions or not.
Therapy for ADHD might not be the most effective solution in treating the disorder.
It has been found out that therapy has not significantly decrease the symptoms of ADHD. Therapy, however, can have a good effect to both patients and families as it aids them to cope with daily symptoms. During therapy, parents and teachers will be involved in the planning of activities to help children and teens to stay organized. They can reinforce the sufferers to keep a routine or schedule, be organized in their tasks and homework and give them moral support with their praises and rewards. Adult sufferers, on the other hand, will learn to plan his/her day, keep routines and learn how to finish tasks.
There are school-based special education programs to help children with ADHD.
There are educational specialists who plans activities to special kids with ADHD. They will coordinate with parents and teachers in making changes in the classroom in terms of giving appropriate assignments to accomodate kids with ADHD. Public school also have this kind of services to a chosen group of kids. Most often, these programs are free for those kids living within the school community.
There are support groups who will support both patients and sufferers to deal with stress brought by the disorder.
You are not alone in your struggles. Yes, there are support groups composed of parents or individuals who face the same problems in living with ADHD sufferers. With support groups, parents and families can manage their stress as they share their frustrations as well as successes in taking care of their kids. Also, they may exchange tips and ways to better handle the sufferers.