ADHD IN CHILDREN
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric behavioral disorder that shows itself as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically seen in your child’s peers. Children with ADHD have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, and in some cases, are overly active. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. Approximately 9 % of children in USA are reportedly diagnosed with ADHD. It may appear that child is “unruly” or not able to keep up with pace of school study. If you observe behavior consisting of items below at home or teachers report a pattern consisting of same or similar symptoms it is time to consult a physician:
- have a hard time paying attention to school tasks and activities
- daydream a lot
- not seem to listen in school environment or home environment
- be easily distracted from schoolwork or play
- be in constant motion or unable to stay seated
- act and speak without thinking
- repeatedly forget things
- talk too much
- squirm or fidget
- not be able to play quietly
- have trouble taking turns
- interrupt others
Types of ADHD:
There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which symptoms are strongest in the individual:
ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
ADHD Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
Possible causes of ADHD: The causes of ADHD and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including:
Brain injury, environmental exposures (e.g., lead), alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight.
Diagnosis: Early diagnosis can provide important coping skills and strategies to you as a parent. Diagnosis of ADHD in children involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other problems with symptoms like ADHD. Another part of the process includes a checklist for rating ADHD symptoms and taking a history of the child from parents, teachers, and sometimes, the child. Early diagnosis of ADHD greatly increases your child’s chances to succeed at school and interpersonal relationships.
Treatment of ADHD: ADHD is best treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Child will benefit from medication regimen (if prescribed by a doctor) and structured routines. Behavioral therapy may include setting rules and giving rewards when your child follows your rules and guidelines, or removing privileges when he or she doesn’t.
It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. While some children seem to outgrow the disorder, or learn to compensate for the symptoms, others do not.
At CCCA we currently accept child patients for psychiatric evaluation and have therapists specializing in treatment of ADHD.
ADHD IN TEENS
Sometimes symptoms of ADHD can be confused with teenage lack of respect and attention to teachers and/or parents. In reality, teenage years much more difficult for a teen who has ADHD and was not properly diagnosed. It may be not laziness or rebellious nature stopping your teen from completing homework or following thru with instructions. Lack of concentration and focus may be explained by neurobehavioral disorder known as ADHD. Please ask your primary care provider for a referral to specialist if your teen exhibits these symptoms for prolonged period of time:
- Careless mistakes/lack of attention to details
- Lack of sustained attention
- Poor listener
- Failure to follow through on tasks
- Poor organizational skills
- Avoiding tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Losing things
- Easily distracted
- Forgetful in daily activities
- Leaving seat
- Excessive running/climbing
- Difficulty with quiet activities
- Excessive talking
- Blurting out answers
- Can’t wait turn
ADHD IN ADULTS
Some adults whose ADHD is left untreated may experience negative consequences including high incidence of substance abuse and automobile accidents, and difficulty staying employed and maintaining relationships. Yet, adults with ADHD can also be highly intelligent, energetic, charismatic, and creative. Many adults with ADHD have developed skills to compensate for their distractibility. Some excel in school at an early age and don’t run into any problems until college/ graduate school or starting at a challenging new job. Suddenly, their coping mechanisms are not as effective anymore.
Adult ADHD can be combined with anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder – further complicating diagnosis and treatment.
For adults diagnosed with the condition, treatment can consist of behavioral therapy, medication, or both.
People who think they may have ADHD should be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Dr. Jasbir S. Kang specializes in ADHD and has years of experience in treatment of ADHD with medications.