Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD/ ADD)

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and it can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behaviour and impulsivity, and hyperactivity (over-activity).  Psychiatrists say ADHD is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder.

The behaviours that are common with ADHD interfere with a child’s ability to function at school and at home.

Symptoms of ADHD in children are generally grouped into three categories:

  • inattention
  • hyperactivity
  • impulsiveness

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive symptoms

The person finds it hard to keep still – they fidget and talk a lot. A smaller child may be continually jumping, running or climbing. They are restless and impulsive – interrupting others, grabbing things and speaking at inappropriate times. They have difficulty waiting their turn and find it hard to listen to directions. A person with this type of ADHD will have more injuries and/or accidents than others. Here are common symptoms:

Hyperactivity

  • Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
  • Does not stay seated as expected
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things (In teens and adults, this is more commonly described as a sense of restlessness)
  • Talks excessively

Impulsivity

  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  • Blurts out answers before the question has been completed
  • Often interrupts others

Predominantly inattentive symptoms

The child finds it very difficult to organize or finish a task. They find it hard to pay attention to details and find it difficult to follow instructions or conversations .Children with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.

Here are common symptoms:

  • Is easily distracted
  • Does not follow directions or finish tasks
  • Does not appear to be listening when someone is speaking
  • Does not pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • Is forgetful about daily activities
  • Has problems organizing daily tasks
  • Avoids or dislikes activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
  • Often loses things, including personal items
  • Has a tendency to daydream

Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms

A child whose symptoms include all those of 1 and 2, and whose symptoms are equally predominant. In other words, all the symptoms in 1 and 2 stand out equally. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

Early Intervention and Care Plan

Currently available treatments focus on reducing the symptoms of ADHD and improving functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, parent training sessions, or a combination of treatments.

Medication options for treating ADHD

Current medications such as Concerta (methylphenidate), Strattera (Atomoxetine HCl), and Clonidine do not cure ADHD. Rather, they control the symptoms for as long as they are taken. Medications can help a child pay attention and complete schoolwork. Medications are prescribed by a Child Psychiatrist who will previously assess and rule out ADHD, prior the commencing treatment.

We do not take the prescription of medication lightly. Please read more about how our Psychiatrist prescribes medicine here.

Psychotherapy

Different types of psychotherapy are used for ADHD.

  • Behavior Modification Therapy: aims to help a child change his or her behavior.
  • Social Skills Training: teaches children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately
  • Support groups: Support groups are generally made up of people with similar problems and needs. This can help with acceptance and support.
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