ADHD, as the name suggests is a behavioural disorder. This condition is mostly found in school-going children and affects nearly 8 to 10 % of children. For reasons not known, this condition is more common in boys than girls. It is normal for kids to behave in the way they do, but when the seemingly impulsive behaviour extends beyond infancy and well into the growing years, then it is a matter of concern. It eases with adulthood and can be managed by correctional measures.
The impulsive behaviour of a child simply running out on the road without realizing the dangers of the same is understood as being innocent, but when the same rashness is displayed on growing up also, it is a matter of concern. Children with ADHD find it very difficult to focus on any given task, no matter how small the task may be, like studying or completing their homework. Getting bored easily and giving up without trying and not being able to attentively listen are also signs of ADHD.
It is very difficult to draw the line between a disorder and normal behaviour, especially in children. To arrive at a conclusion, the child has to be observed under controlled situations and over a period of 6 months, especially in comparison with the behaviour of other children of the same age. If the behavioural disorders are observed over a period of time without reducing, it is time to consult a doctor.
The 3 types of ADHD are identified by the following symptoms:
Predominantly Inattentive Type: The individual finds it difficult to finish a task because of inability to pay attention to details and difficulty in following conversations and instructions.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: A small child will always be running, jumping or climbing and always getting hurt. They are restless, impulsive, grabbing things which come in their way, talking in between, always impatient and incapable of taking instructions. An adult will keep fidgeting with any available object.
Combined type: Means displaying dominant signs of both the types listed above.
The above signs are there in all children but when the signs become predominant and aggressive then it is ADHD.
The exact causes of ADHD are not known, but the risk factors may be:
Genetic /Heredity Factors: One of the major causes of ADHD may be heredity and genes. If someone in the family has or had ADHD then it is likely to be passed on.
Chemical or Hormonal Imbalance in Brain: May be the cause and which affects working of the brain.
Pregnancy: When a mother to- be consumes alcohol or smokes then the child is likely to suffer from ADHD.
Some foods like sugar and food colours and exposure to mercury .
Successful treatment involves correct diagnosis and by understanding the child’s strength and weaknesses. Here the parents and siblings play a very important role.Doctors include Psychiatrist, Psychologist and a Paediatrician. The doctors may suggest certain medications to decrease the hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour and increase the focus attention span.
The use of these medications should be supervised by an adult. Certain therapies and Counselling improves the behaviour and responses. Early School teachers are the first to recognize the signs, as the classroom requires some rules and regulations to be followed by all students and here the signs become visible. Then a visit to the doctor is advised.
There is no surgery for ADHD.
You can prevent ADHD by avoiding the risk factors; where it is heredity the condition eases with time or may continue into adulthood. One cannot completely prevent ADHD but the condition can be managed efficiently with treatment and Behavioural Therapy and Counselling.
It is a challenge to manage ADHD, but it is very important for the parents to be well informed and treat their child accordingly, with love and care and understand that the child has special needs.
Nurturing good habits and discipline, nutritional techniques and maximum preschool activity and new experiences like board games and chess, rather than watching TV can help manage and control ADHD. If well addressed the person with ADHD can go on to become a genius.
There is a popular misconception that individuals with ADHD are dumb or mentally slow. But it is a ‘misconception’; the fact is such persons may go on to become geniuses in the right environment.
The famous Physicist Albert Einstein was said to have the condition of ADHD. He was a school dropout and failed most of the entrance exams and went to a special school, cut classes and studied on his own.
His intense work in physics led him to develop the ‘Theory of Relativity’ for which he won the Nobel Prize. Einstein died in the year 1955 but his brain is still preserved!