Know Your Disorder

ADHD

By Vrunda Patel (Intern, Department of Mental Health Education, NIMHANS)

Is it difficult for you to pay attention? Is it happening to you be an overactive person? Are you taking decisions and acting impulsively? All these are the triggering warning signs of ADHD; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. It is a kind of behavioural disorder. People suffering from ADHD generally have difficult time concentrating and focusing on work. They tend to take decisions without even thinking of its consequences. It generally affects children and teens which can be continued to the adulthood. ADHD can’t be cure but various measures can be taken to manage the symptoms of ADHD through various therapies.

Signs and Symptoms:

ADHD has been diagnosed in three parts: inattentive, hyperactive and combined. Some people tend to have only inattentiveness while some have impulsiveness and some of them tend to have both inattentiveness and impulsiveness. ADHD often lasts into adulthood. To diagnose ADHD in adults and adolescents age 17 or older, only 5 symptoms are needed for younger children while six for adults.

  1. Inattentiveness
  • Fails to pay close attention to the details
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • When directly addressing to that person, doesn’t seem to listen
  • No proper way of organizing tasks and activities
  • Often procrastinate tasks which require a lot of thought process
  • Forget things easily
  • Often distracted
  • Appearing to be unable to carry out instructions given to them
  • Often lose things easily
  1. Hyperactivity or impulsiveness
  • Talks excessively
  • Trouble having waiting for his/her turn i.e. often impatient
  • Runs about and extensively portray excitement when there is no need
  • Blurts out anything without thinking and giving it a second thought
  • Little or no sense of danger
  • Often try to interrupt others
  • Excessive physical movements
  • Fidget with, or taps hands or feet.

Causes:
Various causes that leads to ADHD are

  • Hereditary: Generally, ADHD tends to run in families.
  • Brain changes: Often due to brain injuries. Areas of brain maybe smaller in person with ADHD. Imbalances in the number of neurotransmitters in brain.
  • Substance abuse: Due to excessive amount of intake of drugs and alcohol.

Who is at risk?

  • Children born prematurely or with a low birthweight.
  • Children with epilepsy.
  • People with brain injury because of head injury or problems in brain in the womb itself.

Treatment:
Quite a lot of medications are there to improve the concentration level along with that parents and the people around the patient are given guidance on what should be the positive feedback by them to the negative behaviour of the patient. Psychoeducation is thus very important in the treatment process. This also allows the role-play by the patient in order to treat them how to behave in a particular situation. Behaviour therapy helps the patient to learn the process of making decisions and control the behaviour.

If you are a parent of a child with ADHD:

  • Create a routine to be followed every day.

  • Make sure the General Practitioner makes you aware about the particular incontrollable situation and guide you on how to maintain it.

  • Get organized with all the stuff of children like school bags, school work, clothes etc and also encourage them to do so.

  • Limit the choices of the children for few things which can make them impulsive.

  • Praise the children when they do something in a right manner, that way it will encourage them to do more of it.

  • Provide a healthy and nutritious lifestyle and keep in mind the keep the healthy environment around them.

  • Make them understand of their mistake in a polite way rather than yelling

  • Keep in mind to find out the side effects of medications and work accordingly

  • Always maintain communication with child’s teachers and friends.

References:

[1] The National Institute of Mental Health (2016, March).Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”. The National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml
[2] NHS (2018, May 30). ” Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)”. NHS. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/