What is ADHD?
💡Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that involves a combination of persistent problems such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
ADHD symptoms begin in early childhood and continue into adulthood.
Parents often complain about their child’s “unmanageable behavior”. Educators and teachers frequently draw attention to inattention and ‘naughty’ behavior. Manifestations are reported by parents, educators or teachers to be disturbing and are in contrast to intellectual ability and developmental level, the child frequently under-performs academically.
The most of the children with adhd outgrow this problem.
~ 60% continue to have the problem as adults
In some cases, the diagnosis of ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until adulthood. ADHD symptoms in adults may not be as clear as in children. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but impulsivity, inability to sit still and difficulty concentrating may still be present.
Through an effective behavioural intervention programme and psychotherapy we can learn different methods and useful skills such as:
- develop attention and concentration
- reduce impulsive or aggressive behavior,
- learn to overcome past failures at school, at work or in social life
- and many others!
ADHD can look different from age to age
Young child (<3 years)
He/she may cry frequently and have difficulty calming down, has sleep disturbances due to hyperactivity and restlessness, has feeding difficulties, eats little, sucks hard, crying interferes with eating.
He/she seems to be driven by an engine, he has a boundless curiosity, in play he/she can be noisy, destructive, often gets hurt. He/she requires excessive attention from parents, has frequent tantrums. He/she may also have delays in motor development, but especially in language acquisition. He/she cooperates with difficulty after long insistence and sleeps little, the sleep is restless.
He/she anxious/hyperactive, easily distracted, has difficulty with homework. Frequently impulsive, sometimes with aggressive outbursts. He/she may also be associated with learning disabilities, tics or enuresis (urinary incontinence). In tasks he/she is disorganized, has no sense of time, hardly estimating the time. He/she has difficulty relating to the age group and self-care skills are underdeveloped. At school he/she doesn’t follow the rules, easily getting into conflict with teachers or educators.
He/she is less hyperactive, but very impulsive. He/she remains inattentive, easily distracted and bored. Misbehaving at school increases the risk of expulsion and sometimes dropping out. There are frequent discipline problems, both at school and at home, he/she does not recognise authority, has frequent tantrums and a low tolerance for frustration. That’s why he/she often end up committing antisocial acts.
Even within the age group he/she has strained relationships. In addition, adolescents with ADHD develop low self-esteem, are prone to depression and are at increased risk of substance abuse, early sexual activity or juvenile delinquency.
They find it hard to concentrate or prioritize, fail to meet deadlines and forget meetings or other social activities. The inability to control their impulses ranges from lack of patience in a queue or in traffic, to mood swings and fits of rage.
Some symptoms of ADHD are similar to those caused by other conditions, such as anxiety or mood disorders. Many adults with ADHD have at least one other mental condition, such as depressionorsau anxiety.
What causes ADHD in children and adults?
There is currently no clear and comprehensive explanation as to the causes of this disorder. However, a large number of scientists believe that the main causes of this problem should be sought in changing the way the brain works.
ADHD factors in CHILDREN
- Environmental factors – influence the severity of the disorder and in particular the degree of dysfunction and distress the child may experience, but these factors alone cannot determine the illness.
- Genetic factors – influence various changes. Scientific research on neurotransmitters has shown some typical changes in children with ADHD. Specifically, weaker activity was found in certain areas of the brain involved in controlling behavior, mood and attention maintenance, with an imbalance of chemicals at this level. Plastically speaking, the “complacency file is viral” and doesn’t work because it has a low amount of mediators.
- Environmental and psychosocial factors – a stressful family environment (family events as well as particular aspects of family functioning) contributes to the onset of ADHD symptoms. However, parents are not to blame for the onset of ADHD, but have an important role in understanding and actively participating in treatment.
ADHD factors in ADULTS
The exact causes of ADHD are unclear, but research continues. Among the factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD in adults are:
- Genetic factors – ADHD can run in families, and studies show that genes may play a role.
- Certain environmental factors – such as childhood exposure to lead, may increase the risk.
- Developmental problems – Problems with the central nervous system at key points in development can also play a role.
You have an increased risk of ADHD if:
- You have blood relatives (parents or siblings) with ADHD or another mental disorder.
- As a child you were exposed to environmental toxins, like lead, found mostly in paint and pipes in old buildings.
- You were born premature.
ADHD symptoms in children and adults
Manifestations of attention deficit in children with ADHD
- He/she pays little attention to detail and makes careless mistakes
- He/she has difficulty maintaining attention on tasks or at play
- He/she does not follow instructions (not because he/she doesn’t understand them) and fails to complete homework or other household tasks
Manifestations of hyperactivity
- He/she shakes hands or legs or fidgets in chair
- He/she leaves their seat in the pew or in other situations where they are expected to remain seated (theater, church, etc.)
- He/she wanders from place to place or climbs excessively in situations where they expect to sit still
Manifestations of impulsivity:
- Often answers hastily before the question is finished
- He/she hardly wait their turn (e.g. at play)
Main symptoms of ADHD in CHILDREN and ADULTS
- Chronic boredom,
- Lack of memory,
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of attention,
- Disorganisation and inability to prioritize,
- Poor time management skills,
- Problems concentrating on a task,
- Inability to multitasking.
How can it be treated?
Standard treatments for ADHD include medication, education and psychological counseling. Often, the most effective is a combination of all of these. A drug treatment can only be prescribed by a doctor, who carefully assesses your condition and monitors over time how you react to each one.
In the case of children, clear rules applied in the family, psycho-educational measures and intervention at school with the teacher are also necessary.
A 2009 study of ADHD treatment in the US shows that combined treatment (medication + psychotherapy) was consistently superior, while medication alone or behavioral treatment was not. Children in the combination treatment needed lower doses of medication than children in the drug-alone group.