What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) is a behavior disorder distinguished by hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. These symptoms may occur without one another, or in some cases, they occur altogether.

By the age of 7, symptoms of hyperactivity are almost always present, and even children in pre-school may show signs of ADHD. Attention deficit or inattention may not become evident until a child is in elementary school and is faced with expectations.

What Are the Symptoms of Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity Disorder

Each child may experience symptoms differently as these symptoms persist with Attention Deficit Disorder. Below are the most common symptoms found in people who have ADHD.

Inattention

  • Poor studying skills for the child’s age
  • Forgetfulness
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty listening to others
  • A short attention span for age (struggles sustaining attention)
  • Poor organizational skills for the age
  • Difficulty attending to details

Impulsivity

  • Takes frequent risks and doesn’t often think before acting
  • He tends to blurt out answers instead of waiting to be called upon
  • Have struggles waiting for their turn at social games or in school
  • Often interrupts others

Hyperactivity

  • They have difficulty remaining in their seat even when expected
  • Squirms or fidgets with their hands or chair; constantly twiddling their thumbs is another sign
  • Talks excessively
  • Inability to stay on task; changes from one topic to another without completing the initial task first
  • Forgets and loses things often and repeatedly
  • They seem to be in constant motion; climbs or run at times with no apparent goal except motion

Behavior problems or other medical conditions may resemble the symptoms of ADHD. Please remember that many of these adverse effects may occur in teens or children who do not have Attention Deficit Disorder.

School and home environments must experience significant impaired adaptive functioning to diagnose ADHD. 

How Is Hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Disorder Diagnosed?

One of the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavioral disorders is ADHD. A qualified mental health professional, child psychiatrist, or pediatrician can generally recognize ADHD in a minor.

The best thing to do is provide:

  • Psychoeducational testing as it contributes to making the diagnosis of ADHD.
  • Observations of the child’s behavior.
  • A detailed history of the minor’s behavior from teachers and parents.

Psychological, neurological, and physical testing is performed because ADHD is a group of symptoms; the diagnosis depends on the results of the above tests.

Specific tests may be used to test a particular skill or intelligence, while others can be applied to rule out the condition. 

Treatment for Hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Disorder

Once diagnosed, your child’s doctor determines the particular treatment for hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Disorder. A few things are considered before the medical practitioner administers medication to the minor.

  • The extent of the child’s symptoms
  • The child’s medical history, overall health, and age
  • A parents preference or opinion
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • The child’s tolerance for specific therapies or medications

Medications, appropriate school placement, education in behavioral training, and parental support are significant components of treatment for children with ADHD. 

Psychostimulant Medications

There are chemicals in the brain that prevent the minor from controlling impulses or maintaining attention, and psychostimulant medication even things out for these imbalances. It may help reduce significant characteristics and stimulate the brain to help it focus on the task at hand.

ADHD is commonly treated by these common medications worldwide:

  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Atomoxetine
  • Adderall (A mixture of amphetamine salts)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dextrostate, Dexedrine)
  • Methylphenidate (Methylin, Concert, Metadate, Ritalin)

Childhood behavior disorders have been treated with psychostimulants since the early 1930s and have been broadly studied. In most cases, traditional immediate-release stimulants take anywhere from one to four hours to affect the body.

Other long-acting medications require one daily dose to maintain their effects, typically lasting eight to nine hours. These doses of stimulant medication help improve a child’s concentration at school if ingestion is timed to match their schedule.

You should be aware of common adverse effects when giving children psychostimulant medication. 

  • Rebound activation
  • Jitteriness
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Insomnia

Most adverse effects of stimulant use respond to dose changes, decrease with regular ingestion, and are typically mild.

In some cases, antidepressant medications are given to adolescents and children with Attention Deficit Disorder to decrease depression, anxiety, and aggression while improving attention.

Psychosocial Treatments

It can create stress when parenting a child with ADHD, as it presents many challenges. Parents can help reduce stress for all family members by attending classes in behaviors management skills.

Behavior management skills training generally encourages parent-to-parent support in a group environment. Two primary behavioral skills should be used when dealing with a child with ADHD. 

  • Contingent attention
  • Point systems

The above skills can also be used in the classroom and should be taught to teachers dealing with ADHD children. Teachers are enlisted in training that shows them how to communicate school behaviors to parents through daily behavioral reports.

Conclusion

Living with a child with ADHD can be difficult for any parent; that is why it’s best to consult a doctor as soon as you see emerging symptoms. Click here to learn more about the author of this article and what they do.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

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