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How Does ADHD Affect Kids?

How Does ADHD Affect Kids?

Are you raising a child that is very unruly? A child that is quite a handful and is a big headache may not be like any other average children. Your child may always be on the go, leaving a sense of chaos in his wake like a tornado. The child may be suffering from a particular condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A child with ADHD holds little interest in activities or toys.

Though a toy or activity may keep your child’s attention for a few minutes, he would often lose interest and go to other things that may have caught his attention. A child with ADHD is also unaware of his or her surroundings and may often be in danger in crowded areas such as streets and malls. But what is ADHD and how can it affect you and your child’s life?

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often referred to as ADHD, is a common mental disorder among children. The disorder affects about 10% of school-going children with boys at a higher risk compared to girls. It may also affect teens and can continue even through adulthood.

Children with ADHD often have trouble paying attention to you or anything important. Though they may or may not understand what behavior is expected from them, they have difficulty following instructions because they are fidgety and cannot stay still or focus on details. Normally, these kids act without thinking and are unable to control their impulses making them extremely hyperactive.

When it comes to adults, you may observe an adult with ADHD having difficulty in organizing things, managing time, setting goals and holding onto a  job. They can also have problems with their self-esteem, experience failed relationships and have troubles because of their addiction/s.

adhd impact on learning

How Does ADHD Affect Kids?

While being one of the common mental disorders that affect children, the exact cause of ADHD is unknown. As a matter of fact, theories raised are varied, and several things that may lead to ADHD development are still under study and research. Some of the possible causes that researchers suspect include:

  • Genetics. ADHD may run in your bloodline. People who have ADHD family members are prone to develop the same disorder as well.
  • Brain factor. The brain factor is one of the most conclusive causes of ADHD. Brain chemicals in ADHD patients may not be balanced, while the areas of the brain which controls attention are found to be less active in children suffering from the disorder. Brain injuries or disorders may also lead to problems of controlling emotions and impulses.
  • Pregnancy. There are researchers who linked smoking during pregnancy to the development of ADHD in children. Some other pregnancy factors that are likely to cause ADHD are very low birth weight, premature delivery, and congenital brain injuries.
  • Television Time. Surprisingly enough, television may be another culprit of ADHD development among children. Some studies suggest that there is a link between excessive watching of television at an early age with future attention problems. Thus, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provided guidelines that children  2 years old and below should not spend any time before the TV screens, while toddlers  2 years and above should have a limited viewing time of 1 to 2 hours of quality television programs.
  • Toxins. Different toxins like lead may affect your child’s brain development and result in ADHD.

Symptoms Of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The symptoms of ADHD in children and adults may vary. Symptoms of ADHD as one grows old may change.

Children

Symptoms in children are grouped into three categories:

1. Hyperactive

  • Squirms fidgets and bounces while sitting
  • Cannot stay seated for a long time
  • Difficulty playing in a quiet environment
  • Always on the go
  • Excessive talking
  • Restlessness

2. Impulsive

  • Always interrupts others
  • Blurts answers suddenly
  • Cannot wait for his turn

3. Inattention

  • Distracted easily
  • Cannot follow directions or inability to finish tasks
  • Does not appear to be listening
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Does not pay attention
  • Fails to remember daily activities
  • Unable to organize daily tasks
  • Does not enjoy tasks that require for him to sit still
  • Loses things frequently
  • Daydreams a lot

Adults

  • Persistent lateness and forgetfulness
  • Sense of anxiety
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Work-related  problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Cannot control anger
  • Impulsive
  • Cannot concentrate while reading
  • Chronic boredom
  • Frustrated easily
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Inability to organize things
  • Always delays or postpones things

ADHD Diagnosis

No diagnostic tools work on ADHD detection. Normally, the diagnosis of an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is based on thorough evaluation alone. To be considered as an ADHD patient, these different requirements should be met:

  • A child must exhibit behaviors from the three categories before 12 years of age
  • Behavior being exhibited must surpass that of the behavior of kids the same age
  • Reactions observed should last for at least 6 months
  • Behavior must affect at least two areas of your child’s life negatively, including home, school, relationships, and other settings

Your child’s attending physician will also rule out other possible causes that may lead to similar symptoms of ADHD.

There will be a complete and very strict assessment to prevent misdiagnosing your child’s case.

Also Read: What Causes OCD?

How To Treat ADHD?

Treatment normally focuses on using medication and therapy.

  • Medication. Stimulants help control hyperactive and impulsive behavior. It also increases the child’s attention span. Stimulant drugs that may be given are dexmethylphenidate (Focalin), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine or Adderall), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), or methylphenidate (Ritalin).However, stimulants may not work on other ADHD cases. If this happens, non-stimulant medications are given to children older than 6 years. Such drugs include atomoxetine (Strattera), clonidine (Catapres), or guanfacine (Intuniv).
  • Therapy. Therapy treatment focuses more on changing your child’s behavior. There is special education conducted where the child will have a structure and routine that should be followed while at school. Behaviors are also modified by replacing bad behavior with good and acceptable ones. Psychotherapy or counseling will help your child handle emotions and frustrations in a positive manner. It can also help adults develop their self-esteem, as well as make the family understand the predicament of the ADHD-affected person.
  • Support groups. Attending support groups and having these people who are experiencing similar problems that you or your child are facing will push you more to do better and get well. Acceptance and support from these support groups are a big help in the success of ADHD treatment.

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