ADHD affects 3-5% of children globally and is short for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.
The condition can start before age 7 and its main constituents consist of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Sufferers can have one, some or all of these problems.
The ration of boys/girls affected is 4/1 and many are given Ritalin®.
Around 30-50% of children develop into adults with the condition.
There is controversy around its diagnosis and treatment.
Predominantly inattentive type symptoms
Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms
Manifestations of impulsivity
Because there is a spectrum of behavior, it may be difficult to draw a line between where normal behaviour ends and abnormal behaviour starts.
I would look at performance at school, relationships with others, and the ability to get on with others and lead a normal life at home, school or work.
Diagnosis should be made using specific criteria (DSM V) and is usually done by a paediatrician or psychiatrist.
Some consider that there are associations between the following disorders because of biochemical overlaps.
Tourettes Syndrome, Dyslexia/learning disabilities, some Behavioural problems, Obsessive compulsive disorder, Bipolar Disorder, some cases of Depression and Anxiety, some cases of Schizophrenia.
Behavioural problems – Oppositional defiant disorder, temper tantrums, personality disorders.
All of these conditions are genetically inherited and 75% of them run in families – one person develops one and another may have one of the others in the spectrum. This is why some call them the Autistic spectrum disorders.
That these conditions seem to be diagnosed more often now has been discussed. It is controversial and speculative and there are many theories. Are we better at diagnosing these conditions?
Some think that those with ADHD and the associated disorders may be increasing because of new environmental factors in modern times that now are “ pushing over” those with some biochemical imbalances that used to get away with it – these people are the “Canaries in the coalmine”
Some research has suggested that the changed environmental factors can include diet, gut flora, chemical/pesticide exposure.
One medical review stated that although 70% of children receive medications, the benefits do not outweigh the risks.
Nevertheless, we all know of children (and adults) that are on Methylphenidate (Ritalin®) who seem to benefit.
SSRI's (like Prozac®) and other drugs can be used too.
Its been called a psychostimulant drug because it increases neurotransmitters in the brain. It does this by reducing the re-uptake of Noradrenaline and Dopamine (and a little serotonin).
But this actually means it will calm the person because when these neurotransmitters are depleted, agitation and anxiety is caused.
This is called the Biomedical Approach – controversial in some peoples view. I would suggest that it could be added into the conventional approach…
Its important to see a doctor who has an interest in this approach.
Each child is an individual - treatment must be tailored.
Get support! From: Family, Teachers, friends, family doctor, support groups.
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