Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
Signs and symptoms of ADHD / Treatment of ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurologically based development disorder. It is characterised by high levels of hyperactivity, a lack of impulse control and poor attention and/or a high level of distractibility. ADHD generally has an onset around age 7 and is up to five times more common in boys than girls. ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders; between 3 - 5% of school age children are diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD is a highly controversial topic, due to the heavy reliance on psycho stimulant medications to treat the disorder. While these medications are the most successful treatment for ADHD, they are also addictive and can be dangerous to adults with ADHD.
It can be helpful to read other people’s experiences with ADHD:
Signs and symptoms of ADHD
Most common and visible symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsive behaviour, inattention and distractibility. A child psychologist or psychiatrist makes the diagnosis of ADHD. For a positive diagnosis, the symptoms need to have been present for at least six months, started before the child was seven and be the cause of problems at home and school. Because many young children are naturally impulsive and inattentive, the symptoms must be slowing the child’s ability to learn, socialise or function before a diagnosis of ADHD can be made. Symptoms of ADHD can continue into adolescence and adulthood and early identification and treatment is the key to a good outcome.
If you think your child has ADHD, you need to seek professional help. Select Counsellors can help you find a counsellor who is the best fit for you and your child
Causes of ADHD
The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but genetics and biology are believed to have a significant role. Genetic and twin studies have found that ADHD runs in families. For example, children with an older sibling with ADHD are 300% to 500% more likely to develop ADHD themselves. Research is trying to identify the genes that may contribute to the development of ADHD. Recent research found that children with ADHD are more likely to have duplicated or missing segments of DNA.
Research is also investigating the link between brain chemicals and ADHD, particularly the role of dopamine and nor epinephrine that regulate attention and activity. Other risk factors include early brain injury, trauma or exposure to other factors resulting in restriction of brain development (e.g. toxins, birth complications etc).
Although popular belief is that diet, particularly refined sugars cause ADHD, there is no conclusive evidence to support this. Poor parenting and exposure to television are also not causes of ADHD.
Effects of ADHD
Children with ADHD often struggle at school and are frequently disruptive. This can lead to slow academic achievement and peer rejection. As almost two thirds of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms in later life, which can lead to continued problems such as involvement in criminal activity, personal injury and substance abuse.
The families of children with ADHD are also significantly impacted by the disorder. Parents often feel frustrated as seemingly ordinary tasks can become very difficult activities. Parent also often feel powerless as the normal methods for managing children such as withholding attention, reasoning and scolding do not work with an ADHD child. Siblings are also affected as they tend to get less attention than a child with ADHD.
Treatment of ADHD
Therapy and medication are the most common and effective treatments for ADHD. It has been well established that medication is a very effective treatment for ADHD, however, medication combined with therapy is the most effective. The most common medication used to treat ADHD is the stimulant medication Ritalin. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for children where stimulants medications don’t work.
Helping your child with ADHD
If you think your child had ADHD, you need to seek professional help. A child psychologist or psychiatrist can only diagnose ADHD and early diagnosis leads to better outcomes.
Did you realise research has shown that the relationship between your child and their therapist is one of the most important elements for a successful outcome? How do you know if the therapist you find will be the best fit for you and your child?
Select Counsellors provides a unique client counsellor matching service to ensure you see the right therapist for your child, first time. We have a pool of highly trained Sydney based counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists and will match you with the right therapist based on important information collected in a personalised assessment about your child and their needs. At Select Counsellors our key priority is Finding you the One. To book an assessment click here or call on 1300 123 680 to speak in person with a Select Counsellor.
Click on the links below to find out more information on child behaviour and development:
The Helpful Guide