Dealing with ADHD
Dealing with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, can be difficult for any child or parent. ADHD is often misunderstood though it is widely recognized by many as the most common neurobehavioral condition in children. It is estimated that ADHD affects about 3% to 5% of the children around the world. ADHD affects approximately 8% to 10% of school-age children. Boys are about 2 to 4 times likely to be diagnosed with ADHD which is said to be related to subjective nature of how children’s behavior is perceived by teachers and parents alike.
ADHD, though many consider a psychiatric condition in children, is actually a chronic condition and about 30% to 50% of those who are diagnosed as children tend to continue to deal with the condition into adulthood. The manner in which each family is dealing with ADHD can make a world of difference for the children in order to make it a more manageable condition if is prolonged. The lack of ability to stay focused can be detrimental as an adult as it can affect personal and professional relationships hindering growth and success in many ways.
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of ADHD in order to deal with ADHD in a proper manner. There are 3 subtypes of ADHD: the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, the predominantly inattentive type, and the combined type. Most children are said to have the combined type of ADHD. Some of the symptoms of hyperactivity include: talking constantly, running around nonstop touching or playing with everything in contact, having trouble sitting still, fidgeting and squirming whiling sitting. Some of the symptoms of inattention include: having difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, being easily distracted and frequently switching from one thing to another, having trouble completing homework, and frequent daydreaming. The combined type ADHD would indicate the child shows 6 or more symptoms of both hyperactivity and inattentiveness. Some of these symptoms may seem very common in all children but the key is the degree to which the symptoms are manifested in comparison to other children in the age group.
Dealing with ADHD usually involves multiple routes of treatment. The focus lies in optimizing daily functioning levels by reducing the symptoms of ADHD to a manageable level. There is no known “cure” for ADHD currently. The treatment can include pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, and education and it is believed that the multifaceted treatment is best.
Stimulants are the most common types of medication utilized in the pharmacotherapy of ADHD. Though it appears counter-intuitive to use stimulants in dealing with ADHD, it has a paradoxical effect. The stimulants can improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. It is important to note that though effective for many of the children with ADHD, stimulants can have unwanted side effects and may not work so well for some. Some of the common side effects of stimulants in treating ADHD include decreased appetite, sleep issues, and irritability. It is important that the doses be personalized for each child as these side effects are often dose dependent. Decreasing the dose can usually alleviate irritability or appetite issues. Long acting formulations are used oftentimes to avoid multiple doses throughout the day but when sleep issues arise, it might be prudent to consider short acting formulations to curb the issue at bedtime. Some children are also known to develop tics but it is not very common. There has also been a FDA warning on possible side effects involving cardiovascular or psychiatric issues so it is important to ensure constant professional follow up preferably by a psychiatrist who would be more of a specialist for a diagnosis such as ADHD.
Psychotherapy can support dealing with ADHD as well. Through psychotherapy, behavioral adjustments can be made helping the child organizing his/her surroundings and tasks at hand such as homework. The child can be taught to recognize positive behaviors on his/her part also funneling the behavior in the desirable direction. By positively reinforcing the types of behaviors expected such as sharing with others or waiting for their turn to speak or play with toys, there can be considerable modification in behavior that will aid the child build upon the confidence and understanding to be more in control. Learning about behaviors within the normal range of expectations can be a great survival skill necessary in social settings especially those who will continue to experience symptoms into adulthood.
Parents can be great educators for the children dealing with ADHD. They can bring order into otherwise chaotic process ADHD would make children come in contact with different experience. Any child needs the guidance of the parents but a child with ADHD is even more in need. Parents can help the child learn to organize their day to bring about a sense of order. It is encouraged to give immediate reward or praise in proportion to optimal behaviors. Overstimulation can sometimes worsen hyperactivity. Parents can try and become more sensitive to those types of situations as to be able to remove the children from such situations to calm down the child. Simply paying attention to your child’s needs can pay off very handsomely in dealing with ADHD as you approach it with sensitivity and love. The difficulties in dealing with ADHD may also be shared with other sets of parents to compare notes and see what has been a success for some other children and parents. Recognizing the need to deal with ADHD armed with knowledge and patience can help the child succeed in life.
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