What is ADHD?
Attention – Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is common in children and sometimes is seen in adults. It is usually diagnosed firstly in childhood and may sometimes progress into adulthood.
It is characterized by
Lack of attention.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
- Having difficulty in concentrating
- Squirming or fidgeting
- Forgetting or losing things a lot
- Difficulty in resisting temptation
- Talking too much
Depending on the the symptoms and signs observed in the person, ADHD can be classified into the following:
Predominantly inattentive: The person gets easily distracted, forgets details of conversations and routine activities. It is mostly seen in females – they tend to be quietly inattentive.
Predominantly hyperactive / Impulsive: The individual feels restless, fidgets and talks a lot. The person finds it difficult to sit for long. It is mostly seen in males.
Inattentiveness and Hyperactivity combined: The individual exhibits the symptoms of both inattentiveness and hyperactivity.
What causes ADHD?
THE exact cause of ADHD is not yet known, but there are several factors suggested to may increase the likelihood of the disease development. These factors are called risk factors, and they may include;
- Genetics/ family history
- Alcohol use during pregnancy
- Smoking and drug use during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental poisons such as lead
- Brain injury
- Premature child birth
DIAGNOSIS OF ADHD
There is no simple method or way to determine whether a person has ADHD or not.
The symptoms listed above are not sufficient enough to conclude that you or your child has ADHD.
Diagnosis in children and in adults are not the same. In children, diagnosis depends on a particular set of criteria which must be followed.
The criteria considers; the duration and the frequency of manifestation of the symptoms, the age at which the symptoms manifest (which must be before the age of 12), constancy of the symptoms in different settings – school, home, church and so on.
These and many others are the criteria to be considered.
Diagnosis in adults seem to be more complicated and difficult due to the arguments and disagreements on the similarities of symptoms shown in children and that shown in adults.
However, an adult may be diagnosed with ADHD if he presents more than five (5) symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and Impulsiveness.
Therefore, a specialist is in the best position to make an accurate diagnosis after a comprehensive assessment.
TREATMENT OF ADHD
ADHD is mostly treated with a combined approach of Behavioral therapy and medications.
Medications may include;
- Cognition – enhancing medications such as amphetamine salts, methylphenidate.
- Antihypertensive drugs such as Clonidine, Guanfacin, e.t.c.