What is ADHD??
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and it is one of the most common mental disorder affecting children. ADHD are mostly diagnosed during childhood and will usually last until adulthood. Children with ADHD will most probably exhibit symptoms such as
- having trouble paying attention / not being able to focus.
- impulsiveness (act without thinking/approval)
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD.
ADHD can be divided into three types depending on the symptoms of the patient.
- Inattentive type
- Hyperactive / impulsive type
- Combination of inattentive and hyperactive type.
- Inattentive type of ADHD
Patients who under this category of ADHD will have trouble on focusing their attention on something they are doing, concentrating or even staying on a given task to do. Symptoms of kids who have inattentive type of ADHD are such as :
- Not paying attention to details or making careless mistake when doing a task.
- Having problem in focusing on task or activities such as lectures or conversation.
- Does not seem to be listening when being spoken to.
- Not being able to follow instruction.
- Being too easily distracted with things around them.
- Hyperactive / impulsive type ADHD
Patients who are this category of ADHD on the other hand will be fidgety, restless and always on the go. They are unable to sit still and may also rush into things and make careless mistakes. Symptoms for this type of ADHD are such as
- Fidgeting with tapping hand or feets.
- Not able to stay seated.
- Runs about or climb everywhere.
- Always on the go
- Talks too much even when it means interrupting others sentences.
Causes of ADHD
The causes of ADHD however are still very vague but current research shows that genetic do play a role in this disease. Aside from genetics scientist are also studying on other factors such as brain injury, exposure to alcohol or smoking or even low birth weight babies that may contribute to ADHD. No research had shown or even prove the co-relation of high sugar intake or watching to much television with ADHD. Thus, it is only a myth.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
The diagnosis of ADHD does not include any lab test. It is usually done by doctor via information provided by teachers or even parents about the kid’s behaviour. The symptoms of an ADHD kid however, might be similar to many other problems. Hence, doctor will usually do a vision or a hearing test to rule out other problems that have similar symptoms with ADHD.
Medication can help children to manage their ADHD symptoms better by controlling their behaviours. It helps them to be calm and focus while doing their daily task.
There are two classes of medication that currently in use for ADHD patients which are the stimulants and non-stimulant class of medication.
- Stimulants are more popular and is a widely used medication for ADHD. Stimulants are a fast- acting medicine and between 70% - 80% of children shows fewer symptoms after taking them. Common stimulants used are Amphetamine sulphate or Methylphenidate (Ritalin).
- Non-stimulant on the other hand works slightly slower compared to stimulant class but its affect tends to last longer. It can also help children to control their emotion and enabling them to complete their task. The only non-stimulant drug approve for the use of ADHD are Atomoxetine (Strattera)
Healthcare provider will have to monitor and adjust the dose or medication from time to time to make sure that the patients is getting the benefits of the medication with less side effects.
- Behaviour therapy.
Behaviour therapy focuses on managing the symptom of an ADHD patient. It is an treatment option that help reduces the behaviour that are disruptive to others by teaching the patient and also their parents on how to strengthen positive attitude and at the same time eliminate unwanted or negative behaviours. Behaviour therapy is an effective treatment method as it can help to improve the child’s behaviour, self-control and self-esteem. The skills and strategies learnt by parents through the behaviour therapy training enables them to help their kid in succeeding at school, home and also in their relationship with other people. Only therapy that focuses on training parents is recommended for young children with ADHD because young children are not mature enough to change their own behaviour with their parents help. Behaviour therapy teaches parents on how to use praises or positive reinforcement more effectively as well as consequences if the children did not obey with the parent’s instruction. This can result in better behaviour of the children, reducing arguing or throwing tantrum, a better relations between the kid and their parent and a less stressful relationship between them.
- Tips for parents / coaching from parents.
These are a few things that parent can do at home that can help with their child’s behaviour.
- Creating a routine. Parents can help their children by setting a daily routine that they must abide from waking up till their bedtime.
- Manage distraction. Parents can reduce the source of distraction such as TV, loud music/noises or even handphone when their child is doing something so as to not disturb them even further.
- Be clear and specific when talking to them. Parents should use a clear and brief instruction when they want their child to do something and always be calm when talking or asking them to do something.
- Help your child plan. Parents can help them by breaking down a complex task into simpler and shorter steps so that they will not feel overwhelm or shift out of focus while doing the long task.
- Use goals, praises or other reward. Parents are encouraged to list goals and track positive behaviour and also praise/reward them when they are doing something well. Be sure that the goals set are simple and easy to be achieved instead of a complicated one.
- Discipline effectively. Parents should not use harsh word or physically beating them when they make a mistake but instead time-out or removal of a privilege should be implemented to them.
- Provide a healthy lifestyle. Nutritious food, physical activities and sufficient sleep are also important to prevent their disease from deteriorating further.
Prepared by : Ph. James Lye