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About ADHD
by TeenHelp April 1st 2015, 09:12 PM


About ADHD

By Cassie (Cassiopeia.) and Nicole (eumoirous)

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is an increasingly popular and controversial topic. It is a developmental disorder that affects the behavior of approximately 11% of children according to the CDC. Awareness for this medical condition has sparked a debate regarding the extent of the severity of the symptoms. Healthcare professionals are continuously assessing the treatment options to help improve the lives of the people that are affected. ADHD affects many people worldwide, and can make daily tasks harder to complete.

There are three types of ADHD; hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive. Each of these presents themselves with a wide variety of symptoms. Although doctors don't know what causes ADHD, scientists are studying the correlation between ADHD and problems during pregnancy, such as alcohol or drug use while pregnant, low birth weights, and premature delivery.

Symptoms

Hyperactivity:

Symptoms can begin to appear when children start school and are nearly always present by the time they are seven. Symptoms include (but are not limited to):
  • Immoderate talking;
  • Movement, twitching while seated;
  • Restlessness (usually seen in teenagers); or
  • Constantly being ‘on the move’.
Inattention:

Symptoms are generally seen when those who are affected reach levels of education that increase in difficulty. In adults, these can be seen during work or social gatherings. Some symptoms consist of:
  • Procrastination and disorganization;
  • Difficulty completing tasks or assignments;
  • Forgetfulness in correspondence to daily activities;
  • Inability to pick up detail; or
  • Difficulty communicating with peers.

Impulsive:

While children may be impulsive from time to time, children with ADHD are consistently impulsive and may show these symptoms:
  • Lack of patience;
  • Frequent interruption;
  • Making conversation at the wrong time; or
  • Engaging in reckless activities.

Diagnosis
Diagnosing ADHD is a multi-step process; no one test can be used to diagnose someone. Similar issues such as mental health disorders and other learning disabilities have comparable symptoms which can further complicate the process of being diagnosed. A revision of The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) was released in the spring of 2013. Included in this revision are the new descriptions of what symptoms may look like in teenagers and adults. Over the age of 17, only 5 symptoms need to be present, whilst 6 symptoms for those under the age of 17 must be present. Lastly, symptoms can now occur at a later age than before.

Treatment
Treatments for patients with ADHD consist of medication and behavioral therapy. Medications that are used to treat ADHD are either stimulants or non-stimulants. Stimulants are the commonly used medicine that is highly effective in improving the behavior of children. 80% of children taking stimulants have a desired response [source]. Non-stimulants were introduced to patients with ADHD eleven years ago. It is known that they have fewer side effects and can last for up to a day at a time. Each person responds to medication differently depending on their individual needs. Therefore, it is vital that the patient or the caretaker speaks to the doctor to see which medication will have better results for that individual.

Behavioral therapy helps family relationships, along with relationships in the classroom or in the workplace. Therapy can greatly reduce symptoms and should be considered as a treatment option. A therapist can help the client get organized by creating a routine that he or she can commit to. Furthermore, a therapist can teach the patient how to limit distractions by making choices such as doing schoolwork in a quiet designated area. Additionally, the therapist might use a system of incentives to give the client a reward for their efforts.

Debunking the myths of ADHD

ADHD isn't a real medical condition
ADHD is a very real medical condition, and it affects about 11% of people from the beginning of their childhoods. ADHD prevents individuals from being able to focus on activities such as schoolwork, and it can greatly affect their grades and their job performance if not treated.

ADHD is over diagnosed
Studies show that the rate of children diagnosed with ADHD has been increasing over the years. This is likely because it is thought to be genetic, so more of the ADHD genes are being passed on. It could also be diagnosed more today because it is becoming a more well known medical condition. Awareness for it has greatly increased and thus, more parents are turning towards treatment in an attempt to help their children improve.

ADHD only occurs in boys
Boys are more likely to have ADHD, however both sexes can have the condition. Symptoms present themselves differently in girls than they do with boys. Girls with ADHD won't be as noisy and disruptive in class so it can be harder to realize there's a problem. Girls with ADHD may be more likely to daydream or "space out" during class and miss large chunks of what the teacher is saying. They may also easily get distracted by various stimuli.

People with ADHD just need to try harder to focus
ADHD is a medical condition which means those who have it can't help but have more trouble focusing, much like how those with a learning disability have a harder time with understanding school material. While learning skills and methods for staying focused can help to some degree, ADHD is problematic; many people are diagnosed with it and require treatment.

While debunking these myths it is important to understand why these misconceptions have come about. The answer lies in the lack of education regarding ADHD. There has been plenty of awareness raised for it, however many people still do not understand how it affects those diagnosed with it. Treatment for ADHD has been very successful in helping kids stay focused in school, which in turn aids them in going on to provide quality work in the workplace. While diagnosing ADHD can be tricky, its always a good idea to talk to a doctor or other healthcare professional if you or someone you know is displaying symptoms.
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