ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERRACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)


Individuals with ADHD may know what to do but do not consistently do what they know because of their inability to efficiently stop and think prior to responding, regardless of the setting or task.


Characteristics of ADHD have been demonstrated to arise in early childhood for most individuals. This disorder is marked by chronic behaviours lasting at least six months with an onset often before seven years of age. At this time, four subtypes of ADHD have been defined. These include the following:


1. ADHD – Inattentive type is defined by an individual experiencing at least six of the following characteristics: Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes. Difficulty sustaining attention. Does not appear to listen. Struggles to follow through on instructions. Difficulty with organization. Avoids or dislikes requiring sustained mental effort. Often loses things necessary for tasks. Easily distracted. Forgetful in daily activities.


2. ADHD – Hyperactive/Impulsive type is defined by an individual experiencing six of the following characteristics: Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat. Difficulty remaining seated. Runs about or climbs excessively (in adults may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness). Difficulty engaging in activities quietly. Acts as if driven by a motor. Talks excessively. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed. Difficulty waiting in turn taking situations. Interrupts or intrudes upon others


3. ADHD – Combined type is defined by an individual meeting both sets of attention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.


4. ADHD – Not otherwise specified is defined by an individual who demonstrates some characteristics but an insufficient number of symptoms to reach a full diagnosis. These symptoms, however, disrupt everyday life. Children and adults who have ADHD exhibit degrees of inattention or hyperactivity/impulsivity that are abnormal for their ages. This can result in serious social problems, or impairment, of family relationships, success at school or work or in other life endeavors.


Children and adults can exhibit other psychiatric disorders, along with their ADHD symptoms. Most commonly, these include oppositional defiant or conduct disorder, along with or separate from internalizing disorders, such as anxiety and depression.


Causes of ADHD


Experts have investigated genetic and environmental causes for ADHD. Some children may inherit a biochemical condition, which influences the expression of ADHD symptoms. Other children may acquire the condition due to abnormal fetal development, which has subtle effects on brain regions that control attention and movement. Recently, scientists have uncovered research based on brain imaging to localize the brain areas involved in ADHD and have found that areas in the frontal lobe and basal ganglia are reduced by about 10 percent in size and activity in ADHD children. Recent research based on genetic mechanisms has focused on dopamine as the primary neurotransmitter involved in ADHD. Dopamine pathways in the brain, which link the basal ganglia and frontal cortex, appear to play a major role in ADHD.


Treatment


There are two modalities of treatment that specifically target symptoms of ADHD. One uses medication and the other is a non-medical treatment with psychosocial interventions. The combination of these treatments is called multimodality treatment. Treating ADHD in children requires a coordinated effort between medical, mental health and educational professionals in conjunction with parents. This combined set of treatments offered by a variety of individuals is referred to as multi-modal intervention. A multi-modal treatment program should include: . Parent training concerning the nature of ADHD as well as effective behavior management strategies . An appropriate educational program . Individual and family counseling, when needed, to minimize the escalation of family problems.


Role of homoeopathy


Help in calming down the behaviour, reduces the restlessness


Help in reducing impulsivity, tantrums


Act as immunodulators


Bring about moderation in sensitivity disturbances


Help to manage underlying neurological disturbances


Do not have any adverse or depressing neurophysiological side effects


What other therapies / techniques are helpful for children with ADHD?


Along with Homoeopathy, children greatly benefit from


Behaviour modification therapy


Play therapy


Family counselling


Children with perceptual difficulties may need remedial education


Behavior modification techniques have been used to treat the behavioral symptoms of ADHD for more than a quarter of a century. A summary of the literature on trials that have validated the efficacy of this approach shows that, in many cases, behavior modification alone has not been sufficient to address severe symptoms of ADHD. Classroom success for children with ADHD often requires a range of interventions. Most children with ADHD can be taught in the regular classroom with either minor adjustments in the classroom setting, the addition of support personnel, and/or special education programs provided outside of the classroom. The most severely affected children with ADHD often experience a number of occurring problems and require specialized classrooms.

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