ADHD – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

ADHD

Everyone who is trying to focus and learn without any success could be a candidate for ADHD. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental condition affecting mostly children that cannot follow the rest of the school educational team.

Lately, we have also seen adults who struggle with ADHD. Some of them were misdiagnosed when being children and carry that burden ever since.

Did you know that almost 10% of the children’s general population get diagnosed with ADHD in Western countries every year?

This mental condition can cause frustration to the family and slow down the learning process. Children still miss the right diagnosis and get improper treatment.

Let’s now point out the significant features of ADHD and which are the predominant symptoms.

What is ADHD?

It is one of the most frequent neurodevelopmental disorders for children. Neurologists can most diagnose it during early childhood, just after the child attends school.

Children can have problems paying attention to the lesson in class, be explicitly active, and become unable to control their impulsive behavior

Usually, children that get diagnosed with ADHD suffer from the same condition as adults.

Lately, many adults have been diagnosed with ADHD. That explains to some point their problems at work, or the trouble they have to control their behavior as parents.

It would now be feasible to check the symptoms of this attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to ensure proper diagnosis and early treatment.

Symptoms of ADHD

As with any disorder affecting kids and adults, some signs and symptoms are always present:

1-Forgetfulness

It is common in adults and kids who have ADHD to forget important information for their daily schedule. A recent study published on Mental Health Scientific Magazines has shown that forgetfulness was the predominant symptom for children and adults seeking help for this condition.

2-Poor organizational skills

That is the main symptom in adults who work and face trouble to control and read their daily task schedule. Kids with ADHD may also have problems that include time management at school.

School-age kids with poor organizational skills during childhood can turn into adults with attention-deficit disorders, who need help to control their professional and personal lives.

3-Inability to focus or prioritize

Kids with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder usually can’t concentrate on absorbing the information when being in school. As adults, they will not be able to prioritize several tasks.

This issue can give them more anxiety when being in class and result in poor performance.

4-Difficulty keeping quiet – Speaking out of turn

Hyperactive kids usually share the diagnosis of ADHD. Keeping quiet in class is the first step to social and behavioral treatment in childhood. Children who simply can’t wait for their turn to speak should make the teachers pass them from a mental behavior evaluation.

5-Constantly starting new tasks without finishing old ones

It could be the exact mirror image or procrastination in adults. Children that have such behavior are eligible for ADHD diagnosis. All kids who have hyperactivity problems cannot devote their energy to finishing one task at a time.

That is why children need to undergo special behavioral treatment and therapy to learn how to accomplish tasks one step at a time.

6-Little or no sense of danger

Adults and kids suffering from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders show unsafe behavior. They tend to take risks that affect their lives and may become fatal.

Their brain lacks the proper chemical substances to reduce risk to the minimum acceptable level. Teachers in schools having to deal with ADHD diagnosed children should be very cautious of the medications they take to keep them always safe and sound.

ADHD: Causes and Risk Factors

Scientists have determined several risk factors and causes of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adults. These include the following:

1-Genetics

If your parents had an ADHD diagnosis during childhood, your children might also have the same disorders. There is no clear way of how the ADHD genes get inherited from one generation to the other.

2-Brain function and structure

Scientists believe that there is a size difference in the brain of a person with ADHD compared to ordinary people. Others support that children who have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder show a particular imbalance in the neurotransmitters’ levels of their brain.

Even though control studies and treatments are still experimental, the function and structure of ADHD kids’ brains seem fundamental.

Risk Factors

A person can have a predisposition to developing ADHD. Environmental risk factors also exist and are as follows: 

1-Blood relatives with other mental health disorders

Kids who have other people with mental disorders in the family have more chances to develop ADHD during school years. The diagnosis of ADHD has a strong hereditary basis. 

That is why many scientists insist on the genes reliable for hyperactivity disorders. They try to find medication for these conditions showing that the brain can be sensitive to proteins produced in our bodies.

2-Exposure to environmental toxins

Several studies in US children showed that tobacco use from mothers while being pregnant could lead to ADHD for their newborns. Attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder can also be diagnosed with kids who have been exposed to environmental-led pollution.

3-Maternal drug use during pregnancy

A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Pediatrics showed that pregnant mothers’ cocaine use indicates direct relevance with the appearance of ADHD to their kids.

Even though there is not enough evidence to include other substances, many think that taking drugs can severely impact the attention and cause hyperactivity to children as early as the 7th year of age.

4-Premature birth

NHS and other health associations have indicated the correlation of ADHD with premature birth. Babies that were born before the 33rd week of pregnancy showed an elevated rate of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

School districts that evaluate the kids’ health found it hard to give them the right behavioral treatment. Their parents deal with the diagnosis and treatment difficulty of their children. ADHD can have a mental stigma for those kids as an adult as well.

Diagnosis of ADHD

The latest behavioral tests have shown significant progress in ADHD diagnosis. However, there are some differences between attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and signs in children and adults.

Children and Teenagers

The golden rule would be for kids/teenagers to have six or more symptoms of inattentiveness or impulsiveness and hyperactivity. On the other hand, they need to have these symptoms before the age of 12.

Furthermore, the continuance of the hyperactivity behavior to school and not only as a reaction to their parents would also be necessary.

The apparent difficulty in following the school academic program or other social adaptation problems could also concur positively with ADHD’s mental condition appearance. 

You always have to know that ADHD could be confused with other mental and behavioral disorders. That is why only trained pediatric neurologists and psychologists could conclude to the differential diagnosis of ADHD.

Adults

Currently, scientists believe that ADHD cannot appear in adults if it hasn’t been present during their childhood. Adults also have to meet the five symptoms threshold that applies to kids as well.

Adults who could have a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder should have proven problems and trouble with their academic work

They could also have a reckless driving history, or face difficulty in making or keeping friends. Another sign of adult ADHD could be the difficulty in relationships with business partners. 

Under any circumstances, a behavioral psychologist would always ask for school records and medical records to see if the person had a diagnosis of ADHD as a child. 

The DSM-5 criteria for ADHD

These criteria have been the golden standard for the diagnosis of ADHD to children and adults:

1-Often fails to give close attention to details

2-Often gets distracted

3-Often forgets daily activities

4-It seems not to listen when spoken to directly

5-Systematically dislikes tasks requiring mental effort

6-Shows trouble behavior when organizing tasks and activities

Treatment of ADHD

Today doctors, psychologists, and related scientists have proposed several treatments for ADHD.

Medicine Treatments

1-Methylphenidate

It is the FDA approved drug for children above the age of six, providing standard treatment for ADHD. Methylphenidate acts in the CNS by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine or norepinephrine.  

Its beneficial action on the prefrontal cortex of kids brain may explain why it is the most prominent treatment for ADHD.

2-Dexamfetamine

That is the most common medication for children under 12 that need to take treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. It can directly stimulate their brain to produce more dopamine and serotonin to ease the symptoms of ADHD

3-Atomoxetine

Here you have the only stimulant medication for the CNS, granted permission for children by the FDA. Atomoxetine works by ensuring the reuptake of noradrenaline to the brain cells of these kids.

It seems like its beneficiary action starts right away, and combined with behavioral therapy, children can overpass the difficulty posed by attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

4-Guanfacine

Although doctors prescribe Guanfacine for children and adults who have ADHD, its mechanism of action remains unknown. For many of them, Guanfacine can strengthen memory, reduce distraction, improve attention, and control impulse.

5-Lisdexamfetamine

It is another medication that can increase the levels of neurotransmitters in the kids’ brain. Norepinephrine and dopamine are the main molecules affected and can lead to a better mental function and cognitive clarity.

Lisdexamfetamine is also safe for use in children and adults, having fewer adverse effects than any other medication in its class.

It remains a pillar therapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder during childhood for kids with ADHD diagnosis.

Home Remedies

Many people avoid giving their children medications for ADHD treatment. That is why home remedies still make a difference. Let us check some of them here:

1-Avoid potential allergens

Many children are vulnerable to potential allergens like eggs and chocolate. Not to mention that preservatives added on typical food like BHT and BHA are also responsible for the ADHD prevalence.

Every person who tries to minimize its exposure to potential allergens can stay intact from the effects of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. They can also avoid any mental and social impacts that follow such disorders that affect childhood.

2-Follow a yoga or tai chi class

Yoga sessions can help kids with ADHD to find proper treatment alongside with medications and behavioral therapy. According to recent studies, children who followed a weekly yoga lesson program were able to learn it well even though they had ADHD.

3-Apply some EEG Biofeedback

Modern Neurotherapy is the Electroencephalographic Biofeedback (EEG). It helps children and adults to stimulate their brain nerve cells. On the other hand, it is a powerful tool to be sure about the diagnosis of ADHD.

A person can get exposed to several screens, and the system helps him react the right way. After several sessions, children could learn how to control themselves, reduce impulsiveness, and improve their focus and attention.

4-Spend time outside

All studies suggest that spending time outside in several outdoor activities can reduce the symptoms and consequences of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

People may help their social behavior by having a 20 minutes walk to the park. A child may also get better at school and learn how to respect his parents without taking any medications.

5-Get some parental therapy

Parents are, most of the time, reluctant to accept the behavior of their kids. When they have an ADHD diagnosis, it would be better to follow a behavioral therapy combined with some parental therapy at the same time.

Parents will identify the strategies and techniques to help their child having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. They can also help it develop social abilities that would otherwise be impossible to learn.

6-Get rid of preservatives and food colorings

Sodium Benzoate and other coloring substances can significantly trigger ADHD symptoms for children. That is why you should be ready to help them avoid these substances when offering them a treat.

Kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can turn into adults without health problems if they take care of nutrition.

Therapy for ADHD

Since the early identification and diagnosis of ADHD, several treatments are available from the psychologists’ perspective. Here are some of the most popular:

1-Behavioral Therapy

That is the main therapy for parents and children that want to recover from ADHD. It contains some social skills and other useful tips to start listening to others and what they have to say.

Kids can learn how to focus when they are in the school classroom, and ease their hyperactivity with calming down thoughts. 

Behavioral therapy aims to give children useful tips to control their brain before they talk or move. That is why it’s so popular in the western countries where the incidence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is massive.

2-Social Skills Therapy

Psychologists can help a child with ADHD by improving its social skills. That session includes coaching, role-playing, watching videotapes of positive behavior, and practicing ways to settle conflicts.

Children should know how to improve their social skills after they evaluate this therapy. To be more precise, children with ADHD should manage to listen and engage in a conversation, enter new group situations, give and receive praise and criticism, cope up with frustration.

Behavioral therapists believe that kids who receive social skills therapy become more healthy adults and show no signs of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder when they grow up.

3-Educational Therapy

That kind of therapy usually needs an exceptional tutor that could be a teacher or another health scientist with proven ADHD managing record. This kind of treatment will help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder improve focus and work habits and teach time management and organization skills.

Furthermore, the therapist can develop an individual educational plan for kids with ADHD. Educational therapy could also act as a link between school and parents, creating a safe environment for kids with ADHD.

4- Nootropics for ADHD

There is a many published studies that shown the beneficial action of nootropics and natural supplements on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Here is a list of natural supplements : 

How to prevent ADHD?

ADHD runs through the family. However, there are some tips to apply even before your child is born to prevent it. The most successful treatments and prevention methods are available for children already having the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. Here you can find the most important ones.

1-Have a good prenatal care

It is of monumental importance to have proper prenatal care. A recent study performed in pregnant women with children diagnosed with ADHD showed that stress during pregnancy is associated with increased chances for ADHD and autism in children.

Also, a healthy diet and regular doctor visits are necessary to prevent any possible perinatal issues. When pregnant, you should stop consuming alcohol and drugs that could be the main reason for ADHD diagnosis.

Finally, women and children exposed to led pollution during pregnancy showed elevated signs of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder later in childhood.

2-Provide a healthy diet for your child

Offering the best diet to your kids can significantly lower their chances of being diagnosed with ADHD. Foods rich in proteins like lean beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, low-dairy products may ease all ADHD symptoms once they appear.

Protein-rich foods may also give your child the necessary tools for neurotransmitters creation in their brain. That is why eating right is always a fundamental step to the prevention of ADHD.

3-Get a structured routine

Kids with ADHD diagnosis should have a well-structured daily routine. That routine starts from the morning hours (it is essential to have a precise hour to wake up and go to bed) and goes all the way throughout the working day.

Children with ADHD should also know when it’s time to attend classes, how long they break, and their lunch break duration. If they attend any sports classes as an out school activity, they should always know where they go and for how long.

Ambiguity doesn’t help kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to put things together and react to external stimuli the right way. Having a reliable daily schedule can help kids with ADHD to find their way to focus and improve their behavior towards others.

4-Apply some behavior management techniques

Behavioral management techniques are essential for ADHD treatment to succeed. Setting rules and expectations, using the right rewards, engaging the child with activities, and using a timer are the most valuable interventions for an ADHD-free child. 

As children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder grow up, behavioral techniques would involve their teachers as well. Talking regularly to your children, and applying structured discipline is equally important as a treatment for your ADHD teenager.

5-Start teaching attention skills early

Attention skills are essential for a better understanding of the school lessons, not only to ADHD kids but to the general population. However, all ADHD students should know particular tips to apply when they need to pay attention to their teachers.

Stop thinking of other things when attending classes, having their notes and pencils ready and sharpened, and holding a favorite thing that makes them feel safe, can increase their attention during lessons.

6-Use negative consequences of changing behavior

Negative consequences are always a treat for kids with ADHD. If they feel like they have something important to lose, they will start complying with the daily schedule and pay more attention.

It has been obvious that kids with ADHD need to fear the negative social impact on their friends and family to become more attentive to their lessons.

Consequences of ADHD

Since ADHD has an increased prevalence in kids of early school years, it would be useful to know the consequences of that disorder in their daily lives:

1-Social Rejection and Isolation

Kids with ADHD could experience social rejection from their friends and peers at school. Some of them may also be isolated from their close ones. They may lose some friends because of their weird behavior.

2-Family relations problems

Families that have an ADHD diagnosed child can face some severe relations problems. Especially when there are other siblings not suffering from the same disorder, their relations may be rocky.

The parents have to talk to the other family members about the particular condition of their child having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

3-Substance Abuse

Many adults that were diagnosed with ADHD as children may have some substance abuse problems. Usually, the ones who had not received any treatment when they were kids are the most vulnerable to developing such a mental condition that directly threatens their health.

Alcohol and drug abuse are among the most common issues adults with ADHD can face. They could refer to specialized group therapy and find a solution to their abuse issues.

4-Physical and Mental health problems

Many kids that share the ADHD diagnosis may develop other mental and physical health problems as well. It is rare to see children with depression and psychotic disorders derived directly from their ADHD incidence. 

Additionally, some hyperactive kids can harm themselves when doing dangerous things. Climbing where others can’t, and running like crazy could also give them health issues derived from their skeletal and muscular system.

5-Academic progress issues

Every child diagnosed with ADHD has academic progress issues. It would be lucky to have an early diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and take proper treatment to restore the lost academic progress.

At earlier ages, kids with ADHD were condemned to lose touch with the rest of the class. 

In some cases, these kids were also expelled from the school environment because of their behavior and inability to follow the rest of the class.

6-Bigger record of traffic violations and accidents

Adults who suffer from ADHD show significantly higher rates of traffic violations and accidents. ADHD can create a dangerous situation for adults who need to commute to their work with their privately owned vehicle.

The best solution for a person having an ADHD diagnosis is to use public transportation instead of his car.

7-Incarceration

It is sad to know that many prison inmates had been diagnosed with ADHD. Their dangerous behavior that goes off-limits many times can drag them to perform illegal actions.

That is why incarceration is a severe consequence for adults with ADHD even when they were children. For all these reasons, it would be wise to receive treatment in early childhood.

FAQ

Is ADHD a serious mental illness?

ADHD is a mental condition that can find the right treatment and get cured. It is serious since it can affect how children structure their brains and attend their lessons at school.

Kids with ADHD are today receiving proper diagnosis and treatment. That is why they become successful in everything they do in their adult life.

Is ADHD a form of autism?

ADHD has nothing to do with autism. It is a mental condition where kids cannot concentrate successfully. Autism is a more severe condition that needs a child to attend specialized schools and usually minimizes its chances to live a normal life.

On the other hand, ADHD persons are everywhere and become functional adults who work and have a normal family life. 

Why are people with ADHD so angry?

Sometimes ADHD suffering people can become angry because of the chemical imbalance in their brain. They don’t have the proper way to manage their feelings and adjust their attention each time needed. That is why they express their reaction with anger that can be explosive.

They usually remove their anger after a while, but they could have severe anger episodes, potentially affecting their relations with other people at home or work.

Are people with ADHD smarter?

As of today, there is no direct correlation between ADHD and IQ levels. Some of the famous scientists like Einstein would today be diagnosed with ADHD as children. However, no one can claim that being smart has anything to do with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. 

Can people with ADHD love?

A person having ADHD can share all feelings (including love) as anyone else can. 

Who famous has ADHD?

Michael Phelps and Adam Levine are two of the most famous people sharing the ADHD diagnosis as kids. As you may understand, ADHD didn’t become an obstacle to their way to the top.

What is the root of ADHD?

ADHD has its roots in the neurotransmitters’ imbalance in children’s brains. There is also some behavioral explanation of ADHD (meaning that the family environment may assist ADHD development), but it still needs a lot of research to get proved.

Can ADHD cause laziness?

Some lazy people may also get diagnosed with ADHD. In general, people with ADHD are hyperactive and work more than others. For that reason, laziness cannot be linked to ADHD by no means.

Conclusion

Children who have ADHD should have the chance to live a healthy school life. Modern treatments, including behavioral management and medications, are always welcome to increase their attention and reduce their hyperactivity.

If you liked this article feel free to share it on your Social Media and let your friends know about ADHD. Your feedback is important to spread the word that ADHD kids can turn into healthy adults. They deserve that opportunity.

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