How to recognize Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also known as Attention deficit Disorder (ADD) or ADHD is a common behavioural disorder that affects an estimated 8% to 10% of school-age children. ADHD is a medical condition that affects how well someone can sit still, focus, and pay attention. ADHD is a condition involving a broad array of behaviours - attention, activity, and impulsivity. It can affect how kids interact and function socially, academically, and at home and can cause children to be aggressive and disruptive, making things uncomfortable and unpleasant for other children in the home. ADHD is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. However, it is a syndrome and oppression, not a concrete medical condition and is more common in males than females.

ADHD causes children to have problems with concentrating, reading and behaviour, leading to aggression, poor social skills and educational failings. ADHD cases involving kids are on the rise; hence it is necessary to understand the causes and symptoms of ADHD so that you can take action early on.

Before understanding the symptoms of ADHD let us understand what are the types of ADHD? There are 3 subtypes of ADHD:
* Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive - these are kids that are more hyperactive and have less inattention problems.
* Predominantly inattentive - these are kids who are less hyperactive or impulsive but have inattention problem.
* Combined - these are children who have both hyperactivity and inattention problems.

It is necessary to understand that there are treatments available that can relieve many of the disorder's symptoms, but there is no cure. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives.

Let us understand the symptoms of ADHD and how you can recognise that your child is suffering from this syndrome so that you can act fast. In order to be diagnosed of ADHD your child should display some of the behaviours listed under each of the three ADHD sub types before age of 7 for a period of at least 6 months. Following are the common symptoms you need to be aware of:

Children who have symptoms of predominantly hyperactive impulsive behaviours would typically exhibit following behaviours:
* Constant fidgeting and moving in their seats; cannot sit still on their desk in school or on dinner table.
* Unnecessary and excessive talking
* Want to touch and play with everything that they can see
* They constantly need to be doing things and are in motion all the time; but they can never complete a task or activity in hand. They keep on jumping between tasks, wanting to do everything.
* They are very impatient; they cannot wait for their turn and are ready to break rules all the time.
* They often don't think before talking, they show their emotions and have no regard for consequences of their behaviour
* They do not listen and often interrupt conversations or others' activities.

Children who have symptoms of predominantly inattention would typically exhibit following behaviours:
* They are often distracted, miss important details forget things and keep on switching between tasks and activities. They cannot complete any single task and have difficulty in focussing on a task beyond few minutes.
* They also have organisational problems (cannot organise themselves and their tasks), are often confused and have difficulty in learning new skills.
* They often lose their things especially those that are needed to complete their activities.
* They do not listen and are constantly in their own world, daydreaming and moving slowly. Hence they cannot follow instructions or process information easily and accurately.

Children with ADHD syndrome show a combination of above symptoms. As a result of these symptoms these children often lack confidence and show signs of excessive worry, fear, or panic leading to physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, stomach pains, and diarrhoea. Some symptoms include limited social skills, school performance issues, needing extra time to learn, irritability, inability to concentrate, impaired cognitive skills and a short attention span.

It is necessary to understand that ADHD is not caused by poor parenting and its biological origins are not yet clearly understood. Hence there is no single cause of ADHD and it can be a combination of various genetic and environmental factors that can cause ADHD. Some of the common reasons attributed to ADHD are:

Genetic: There are several studies that show that ADHD runs in the family and some children with ADHD have thinner brain tissue.
Environment and Life Experiences: High usage of alcohol or cigarettes during pregnancy, premature birth or exposure to lead leads to ADHD. Kids who have experienced a divorce, a move, an illness, constant change of school due to parent jobs, or other significant life event may suddenly begin to act out or become forgetful. Some studies have also shown that watching excessive television as a child can cause future attention problems.
Brain injuries or medical/mental condition: Children who have suffered a brain injury or have undetected seizures may show some behaviour similar to those of ADHD. Undetected vision and hearing problems, infection in ears can also cause attention deficit. Finally if the child is suffering from any psychiatric problems like anxiety or depression, then they are more likely to have ADHD syndrome.
Food additives: There are some researches done recently, that show that consumption of certain food additives like artificial colours or preservatives can increase hyperactivity in children.

No single test can diagnose a child as having ADHD and it is necessary to speak to the child's paediatrician. The good news is that with proper treatment, kids with ADHD can learn to successfully live with and manage their symptoms. Although it can be challenging to raise kids with ADHD, it's important to remember they aren't "bad," "acting out," or being difficult on purpose. And they have difficulty controlling their behaviour without medication or behavioural therapy.

For more tips on parenting refer to my free e-book "New Parenting Style" on
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