Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can affect both children and adults. ADHD is amongst the most common mental disorders. Behavior patterns of children affected with ADHD can be categorized into two main categories: impatient, and hyperactive and impulsive. The symptoms are usually seen before the age of 12 and should last for at least 6 months. There are different symptoms present for this disorder which can help in understanding what ADHD is. In children the symptoms are: they find it difficult to keep up with their day to day tasks, fidgetiness, unable to wait for their turn, restlessness, interrupting in between important tasks, unable to finish a given task, losing focus easily, etc. In adults it is hard for them to stick to one single task, poor organizational skills, they are unable to concentrate and prioritize things, blurting out things, constant problems with partner and family, and making impulsive decisions, etc. which leads to low self-esteem. There are certain related conditions alongside ADHD, in adults as well as in children. Symptoms in children are anxiety disorder, depression, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), epilepsy, Tourette syndromes, etc. In adults: depression being the most common, some other conditions are personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar polar disorder. There is no cure for ADHD particularly, some children with ADHD outgrow as they age and mature, but most of them usually grow into adults with ADHD
How common is ADHD?
There are a number of surveys and research’s done all over the world to find the prevalence of ADHD. As per a study in 2016, 3.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 have ever been diagnosed with ADHD. A proper diagnosis of the disorder is very necessary because the symptoms of this disorder are very common in various other psychological disorders. Due to lack of proper diagnosis children who don’t actually suffer from this disorder but are proclaimed to have ADHD where there might be a possibility that the children are suffering from a disorder with similar symptoms, and there are very high chances of this occurring the other way round and it is difficult to categorize the symptoms correctly so the children actually suffering from this disorder are reported to have some other disorder with similar symptoms and thus they are not treated. Though ADHD is the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorder and its been hypothesized to has its mention in historical literature findings it is believed to be a new and modern world disorder and there are a number of cases coming up. The number of children diagnosed has increased by 42% since 2003-2011. Children with different ages are diagnosed at different ages and the level of severity varies depending on the age and symptoms. If symptoms are shown at 8 years the level of severity is mild at 7 years it is moderate and when diagnosed at 5 years it is severed. Certain disorders affect people only from a certain race but ADHD affects people from all races and backgrounds. Geographically identifying, Overall western states like Nevada (4.2%), New Jersey(5.5%), Colorado(5.6%), Utah (5.8 %)and California(5.9%)state the lowest rates whereas the Midwestern states like Kentucky(14.8%), Arkansas(14.6%), Louisiana(13.3%), Indiana (13.0%) and Delaware and South Carolina (7%) have the highest rates. The variance in the numbers is because of some major factors: a). lack of experts and facilities and b). parents avoid seeking professional help due to the taboo c). Economic and cultural factors. Boys and Girls both can be affected by ADHD but boys are more likely to be affected and the symptoms shown can be completely different from one another. According to a survey, 60% of the affected children end up being adults with ADHD and 40% of them cure successfully. The number of adult ADHD cases reported is 4%.
What are the available treatment options for ADHD?
ADHD can be treated with both medications and counseling and therapy. Psychotherapy, behavior therapy, social skills training, parenting skills training or the use of support groups are the different counseling and therapy options available.
How does the treatment work?
Psychotherapy helps the child open up and share how they feel. They can make better choices and decisions for themselves. It gives the child a sense of how to manage relationships with peers and authority figures. Behavioral therapy basically helps the child monitor their own behavior and motivates them in making better and productive choices for themselves. The parents work with the child with professional help which helps the parents understand their child’s behavior and reaction patterns. children with ADHD are restless, social skills training is also a very beneficial option available, a professional ca teach them basic social skills like waiting for their turn, sharing, dealing with a difficult social environment. Support groups are another very beneficial option for both the kids and parents, knowing that there are many others going through the same gives more courage and mental stability. Direct feedback or reward system develops a positive attitude and behavior in the child helping them to make healthy behavior changes. This attitude can be built towards little things using Reward giving technique too, the child will feel encouraged to inculcate the attitude and change in behavior easily. Sometimes parents taking out time and giving the kids special care and attention results to be very beneficial for the child. There are multiple stimulants and non-stimulant medication options available as well which can be used to treat with proper diagnosis and consultation. Adderall, a medicine that is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It helps in managing their activities and increasing the attention span. Another non-stimulant based medicine is Modafinil which makes it the preferred medication for ADHD. Another medicine that stands out is a non-stimulant medicine Strattera which helps in increasing attention and controlling hyperactivity.