What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosis with many myths. It is often believed that ADHD is a result of bad parenting, laziness, poor motivation, low intelligence and selfishness. Furthermore, it is a diagnosis that is being misused to describe “trouble kids”, which then turns into fewer people taking the diagnosis seriously. But ADHD is a real medical disorder that, if not noticed in time, may have a huge impact on the child’s present life and future. It is often discovered during childhood and more commonly diagnosed between boys than girls.
The symptoms of ADHD should be extremely severe and have a huge impact on the child’s life before a visit to a doctor and possible diagnosis is discussed.
In order for a person to be considered for diagnosis, he/she must have:
- shown behaviours from one of the subtypes before the age of 12
- the behaviours must be more severe than for other people of the same age
- the behaviours must last for at least 6 months
- the behaviours must negatively affect at least two areas of the person’s life (school, childcare setting, work, home or friendships)
- the behaviours must not be linked to a stressful situation at home (such as death, divorce, move and illness)
The disorder is divided into three subtypes:
1. An inattentive type
- distractibility: difficulty staying focused on activities, trouble paying attention to details or tendency to make careless errors in activity performance
- difficulty following instructions and apparent listening problems
- problems with organization
- avoidance or dislike of tasks that require mental effort
- forgetfulness in daily activities and tendency to lose things like toys, notebooks, or homework
2. A hyperactive-impulsive type
- fidgeting or squirming
- difficulty remaining seated, excessive running or climbing and always seeming to be “on the go”
- difficulty playing quietly
- excessive talking and problems with interrupting or intruding, e.g. blurting out answers before hearing the full question
- difficulty waiting for a turn or in line
3. A combined type
This is a combination of the above two and is the most common.
What causes ADHD:
ADHD is a brain disorder, which may be genetically transferred. It cannot be caused by social or environmental factors,though this is not to say that such factors doesn’t influence the development of the disorder.
ADHD affects several areas of the brain, whereas the frontal lobe is seen to be the most affected. The frontal lobe is an area located at the front of our two hemispheres in the forebrain. This area has a lot to do with our dopamine levels, which is associated with reward, short-term memory tasks, attention, planning and motivation, as well as to limit and select sensory information arriving from the thalamus (the pathway of sensory stimulation) to the forebrain. Due to higher level of the protein dopamine transporters in the brain and the nervous system people with ADHD tend to have lower levels of dopamine, which may result in e.g. difficulty regulating emotional responses.
(Healthline)(Child Development Institute LLC)(ADHD Institute (1))
The earlier you start caring for the ADHD, the better are the chances of a well-functioning daily living with great independence. Different medications with high levels of dopamine may be prescribed by a doctor or a psychiatrist in order to lower the symptoms of ADHD, but unfortunately they often have many side effects. Luckily, there are many other forms of care that are seen beneficial for a person with ADHD. Psychologists, physiotherapists, psychotherapists and occupational therapists may provide therapies to support a positive development.
Stay tuned next week if you’re curious about the sensory room and want to know what an Occupational Therapist can do for a person with ADHD 🙂
ADHD Institute (1): Neurobiology Last visited: 25.09.16 by Shire at adhdinstitute.com: http://www.adhd-institute.com/burden-of-adhd/aetiology/neurobiology/
ADHD Institute (2): ICD-10 Last visited: 25.09.16 by Shire at adhdinstitute.com:http://www.adhd-institute.com/assessment-diagnosis/diagnosis/icd-10/
Child Development Institute LLC: ADHD Causes. Last visited: 25.09.16 at childdevelopmentinfo.com: https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/add-adhd/adhd-causes/
Healthline. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): The Role of Dopamine. Last visited: 25.09.16, at Healtline.com: http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/adhd-dopamine#ReadThisNext7
KidsHealth. What is ADHD? At Kidshealth.org, by The Nemours Foundation Last visited: 25.09.16 http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html#
This page should only be used for informational purpose and is NOT intended to provide medical advice. Before seeking any form of treatment, the reader must seek information from a certified health care provider.