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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms - Causes of ADHD - & ADHD Treatments

Updated on March 3, 2011

 If you feel that your child is lacking something or is having some kind of diverse behaviour in comparison to other kids of the same age, then it might be possible that your child is suffering from a disorder. Here is something that you must know if your child’s grades are going down or if there are complaints from his/her teachers.

Attention - Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder in children. Children with ADHD have great difficulty with tasks that involve sitting still and paying attention.

The symptoms of ADHD are divided into two behavioural categories, inattention and hyperactivity or impulsiveness . Some children have symptoms of both types while other children have mostly one type and not the other. Individuals with symptoms of inattention have trouble concentrating and finishing school assignments, are easily distracted and are often forgetful. Children with symptoms of hyperactivity fidget, talk excessively and have trouble awaiting their turn.

To distinguish ADHD symptoms from normal childhood energy, the behaviours must be compared with the other children of the same age group. The behaviours must also cause significant problems at home and at school. A rating scale completed by the child’s parents and teachers is often used to evaluate the child’s behaviour. A diagnosis is made after an examination by a psychiatrist, paediatrician or psychologist.

Prevalence of ADHD: About 3 to 5 percent of school age children in the United States are thought to have ADHD. This means for a classroom of 20 to 30 students, on average there is one child with ADHD. Boys are four times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with this kind of disorder.

Causes of ADHD: Scientists do not know exactly what causes ADHD. The condition often runs in families, which suggests that genes play an important role. Also, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies show that certain brain regions involved in regulating attention tends to be smaller in children with ADHD than in children without ADHD. This suggests a biological basis for the condition, but more research is needed before MRI or other brain imaging methods can be used for diagnosis or evaluating treatments of ADHD.

Scientists believe that some symptoms of ADHD may be caused by lower than normal levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine (a brain chemical) in regions of the brain important for concentration. Ritalin and other stimulant medications act on the brain to increase the levels of dopamine and other chemicals in certain brain regions.

For Parents Of Children With ADHD

ADHD Treatments

Stimulant medications are often effective in reducing the symptoms of AHDH. When taken orally at low doses, they been shown to be safe and have few side effects. However, when injected or sniffed or used at inappropriately high doses, they can be addictive. Many parents are concerned about giving their children potentially addictive drugs, and this has led to controversy about the ADHD treatments.

Behavioural therapies are also effective for the treatment of ADHD symptoms. Typically, behavioural modifications are based on reward systems to encourage suitable behaviour at home and at school. For example, points are awarded in the classroom for staying on task, interacting appropriately with others and completing work on time. Points are lost on getting out of one’s seat, talking without permission and so on. Earned points are then used to gain access to desired activities like playing, watching television, hangout with friends and so forth.

Combined treatment using both medication and behavioural therapy may be the most effective and leads to a slightly greater decrease in symptoms than medication alone. Many other treatments for ADHD have been proposed including dietary changes, herbal remedies and biofeedback, but they have not yet been shown to be effective.

There is no known cure for ADHD. Coping strategies can be learned and used to deal with disorder, and certain symptoms may decrease or disappear with age. But the condition continues into adulthood in some cases. Research on the effects of long term medication and treatment is ongoing.


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