A Parent’s Guide To Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder usually struggle to concentrate on simple tasks and to pay attention. They can barely control impulse behavior and find focusing on a single task very difficult. This article will serve as a guide, offering parents the information they need to understand the behaviors associated and help them make better decisions for their children about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
What is ADD/ADHD?
ADHD is a common condition affecting the mental abilities of a person to pay attention and concentrate for a consistent period, follow directions, sit still, and control impulsive behavior. While it is entirely expected that a young child will have a short attention span, be easily distractable, and sometimes unruly when it comes to following teachers’ and parents’ instructions, those with ADD/ADHD express these tendencies a lot more often than other kids their age. Their inability to focus and be calm can prove to be problematic at home and school, especially with their peers.
The symptoms are often divided into two groups: Impulsive/hyperactive behaviors and inattentive behaviors.
The impulsive symptoms include; excessive talking and interrupting, impatience, loud playing, excessive running, a lot of fidgeting or squirming around.
The symptoms of inattentive behaviors include being easily distracted, having trouble following instructions, being very forgetful, having trouble organizing, avoiding team or group activities, making careless mistakes, seeming not to listen when spoken to directly.
Most of the children exhibit a combination of symptoms from both of these groups, but some exhibit symptoms from either of the two. All in all, this can make it difficult for the child to function.
A Parent’s Guide To Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- Diagnosis
It is quite challenging to diagnose a mental condition like this since some of the symptoms could be associated with other issues such as trauma, anxiety, or depression. To make an accurate diagnosis, a practitioner should collect information only from those who have closely observed and taken care of your child, like teachers and other guardians.
To get a more complex idea of the symptoms, a child can be given a test called a Continuous Performance Test. This test will rate the child’s ability to complete a repetitive task over a certain period.
There are two kinds of treatment, medical and behavioral. First, we will discuss the medical treatments.
Research has proven that the most effective treatment is a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. In severe cases, the first line of treatment is usually medication called psychostimulants. These increase the number of certain chemicals in the brain, help with increasing focus and reduce hyperactivity.
Finding the right formula that delivers an effective dose for your child can be quite difficult and may even take a few weeks of trial and error since different children metabolize medication in different ways. In addition, some children develop side effects when the medication is not suitable for them.
Some of the side effects that can be observed are issues with sleep, appetite, growth, headaches, mood changes, nausea.
Behavioral therapy can be very helpful in coaching children to manage the symptoms better. Parent training can also help parents learn how to work with their kids to develop good behaviors while reducing inattentive or hyperactive behaviors. As the children get older, they begin working one on one with professionals so they can strengthen their organizational skills. When old enough, kids undergo cognitive behavioral therapy so they can understand how their thoughts and feelings influence behavior.
Can you outgrow ADD/ADHD?
As kids get older, their symptoms change substantially. In fact, it is reported that about half of all children who were diagnosed earlier will not even meet the criteria for treatment by the time they reach their early twenties. Only those with severe childhood symptoms will have the issues even in adulthood, and might even have other problems like depression or anxiety that contribute to their condition.