ADD/ADHD: Symptoms in children and Treatment

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that affects many people in the U.S. It is characterized by impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity. Without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, ADHD can have serious consequences. The consequences may include academic failure, depression, relationship problems and impair social skills.

We may all occasionally experience a sense of restlessness, difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behaviors. However, there is a major difference when we experience these feelings and behaviors occasionally than when we experience them with such a persistent intensity that it interferes with our daily lives and relationships at home, school, and social settings.

In the past, it was believed that children with ADD or ADHD will eventually outgrow this disorder. This is because as children grows older and become adolescence, they become less hyper. However, many adults with ADD/ADHD know too well that many times, this disorder can follow well into adulthood. Individuals often experience relationship problems at work and in their personal lives, usually progressing further into depression if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Heredity may be connected to ADD or ADHD although not sufficient research has yet proven this. What are known to be factors associated with ADD/ADHD are difficulties during pregnancy, prenatal exposure to alcohol and tobacco, premature delivery, low birth weight, high body lead levels, postnatal injury to the prefrontal regions of the brain are all believed to be a contributing factor to developing ADHD in children.

ADD/ADHD symptoms usually are evident during childhood. Diagnostic criteria for determining ADD/ADHD characteristics are such that the behaviors are long lasting, evident for at least six months, and interfering with the quality of life of the individual suffering from it.

ADHD – Primarily Inattentive Type:

* Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.

* Has difficulty sustaining attention.

* Does not appear to listen.

* Struggles to follow through on instructions.

* Has difficulty with organization.

* Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.

* Is easily distracted.

* Is forgetful in daily activities.

ADHD – Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive Type:

* Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.

* Has difficulty remaining seated.

* Runs around or climbs excessively.

* Has difficulty engaging in activities quietly.

* Acts as if driven by a motor.

* Talks excessively.

* Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.

* Has difficulty waiting or taking turns.

* Interrupts or intrudes upon others.

ADHD – Combined Type:

* Meets both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.

Multimodal approach appears to be the best treatment for children and teens. Multimodal approach is when multiple treatments are sought and work together as a comprehensive plan. Some multimodal treatment approaches according to CHADD are as follows:

* Parent Training

*Behavioral Intervention Strategies

*Appropriate Educational Program

*Education Regarding ADHD

*Medication, when needed

Positive behavior modification can be critical. Positive reinforcement or when a child is rewarded for certain behavior appears to be the most important technique to help with ADD/ADHD.

For adults, treatment may or may not involve comprehensive approach. An adult based comprehensive approach includes healthcare professionals, spouse, family members and friends to help the adult with ADHD reap the best benefit from treatment. Medication is usually part of the treatment plan to help these adults gain more control and better organize their lives.

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