ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is one among the neurodevelopmental disorders which affect brain activity in such a way that the person is unable to concentrate, has trouble controlling sudden and spontaneous behaviors, and acts excessive, not able to sit in one place. ADHD is a disorder that cannot be cured, though the symptoms can be managed and improved as the age progresses with some therapies and counseling sessions. For a prompt diagnosis of this disorder, the symptoms must appear before the child turns 13 years, or the symptoms must last for 7 months or more and should have caused problems in at least two surroundings like school or at home or when among a group of people around.
The health professional will provide the child with complete health check-up, including a hearing and visual check to rule out that there is no other cause which is presenting the child with ADHD symptoms. After which the child will be referred to a psychologist or psychiatrist for further evaluation. Most of the time the psychologist will question the parents regarding the daily curriculum of the child whether or when the child has behaved in an abnormal way or initially the psychologist gives a list to parents to ensure that they make note of the child’s daily activity for proper diagnosis of the condition. After gathering enough information, ADHD can be diagnosed if:
The child is not paying enough attention in school and has trouble doing his homework.
The child is constantly distracted.
The child is suffering from impulsive behaviors.
The child is suffering from any anxiety problem, depression, or mood swings.
Based on the severity of the symptoms ADHD is presented into three types:
ADHD combined type: in this type, almost all symptoms of ADHD are reflected in the patient. The patient is hyperactive, impulsive as well as suffers from less concentration and easily distracted.
ADHD hyperactive type: the patients who come in this category are impulsive and hyperactive but they are not distracted and do not have concentration issues.
ADHD inattentive and distracted type: here the patients suffer from inattention and are easily distracted but they do not have any hyperactive or impulsive behaviors.
There is no specific cause for ADHD but many researchers believe a genetic factor is linked to the occurrence of ADHD in children. This is a brain-based disorder. Few kinds of research have proved the presence of low levels of Dopamine( a brain chemical ) which is a neurotransmitter is present in children suffering from ADHD.
Managing a life with ADHD is a difficult task since the patients have low concentration levels and are not obliged to follow instructions very well. ADHD also affects sleep in children. Because of the hyperactive nature, the child cannot stay comfortably at one place thus having discomfort in social gatherings. Children with this disorder are not organized and getting them ready for school and shopping becomes a tough task.
These problems are equally applicable to adults and they too have relationship issues and find it hard to handle themselves in social gatherings.
The first line of treatment is always medical counseling sessions from a psychologist. This also includes offering parental support, behavioral training sessions. The treatment also includes the use of psychostimulants. Psychostimulants are medications which have properties to balance chemicals in the brain which bars the child from maintaining attention and also helps in controlling impulses. Some of the psychostimulants are:
Methylphenidate, ephedrine, dextroamphetamine, few decongestants, and cocaine.
The use of psychostimulants as a major protocol for the treatment of ADHD started as early as the 1930s, these stimulants are released in the body and take effect in the body very quickly but the doses of the stimulants have to be maintained in such a way that the child is able to maintain the concentration for a longer duration of time and eventually the academic performance is improved.
Though the psychostimulants are widely used across the globe, they come with some side-effects. The side effects would be:
Headaches, decreased appetite, improper sleep, rebound activation( the patient reverses back to the symptoms as the effect of the drug reduces ).
1. Is ADHD a Lifelong Condition?
Ans: yes. ADHD is a lifelong condition. In some cases, ADHD is diagnosed in adults which means they are left undiagnosed when they were young. ADHD in adults might not be as extreme as in children but it affects the work and life of an adult more than a child because of incompetence to deal with the social stigma.
2. Can ADHD be Left Untreated?
Ans: ADHD does not have a permanent cure. But if the condition is left unmanaged then the person is affected negatively since ADHD is one among the highly impairing disorders to live with.