Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex neurobiological disorder. Unlike may of us who may have difficulty paying attention at times, sitting still for long periods of time, or even controlling certain impulses; the child with ADHD CANNOT control these parts of their lives. Children with ADHD have trouble controlling their day. They know what they should do but and what they would like to do, but the mechanism just doesn’t function properly. This inability to control their actions is such a problem that it interferes with academics, basic functioning, and relationships. Many times these children are labeled “behavior problems”.
Children with ADHD do not have brain damage. These children with ADHD have good brains that just aren’t functioning properly. Children with ADHD do not lack knowledge they just lack the ability to put that knowledge to use. ADHD is a medical condition, but there are no diagnostic tests to confirm such a condition. Quite often children with ADHD are not diagnosed until they develop problems – most often in school. Until this time most of the symptoms are not as evident or they are not considered developmentally inappropriate.
Children with ADHD do not outgrow it later in life. Quite often the hyperactivity diminishes, but many of the other symptoms continue into adulthood. Children, teens and adults with ADHD can learn to compensate and live with ADHD, but it cannot be fixed.
There are three subtypes of ADHD. These are the predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD , the predominantly inattentive ADHD, and the combined type of ADHD.
Children with the hyperactive/impulsive ADHD will exhibit some of the following:
* Can’t play in a quiet manner
* can’t stay in their seat
* talk too much
* is always on the go – “Motor driven”
* runs and/or climbs inappropriately
* interrupts people
* blurts out answers
* has trouble waiting their turn
Children with the inattentive ADHD will exhibit some of the following:
* has trouble keeping attention on work or play activities
* loses thing needed
* forgets things
* is easily distracted
* has trouble following directions
* doesn’t pay close attention to details
* seems like they are not listening
* appears to be disorganized
* has trouble with activities that require planning ahead
Children with the combined type of ADHD will exhibit symptoms from both lists.
Not everyone who occasionally shows some of these behaviors has ADHD. Such behavior must be demonstrated to a degree where it is inappropriate for their age. The behavior must have been present early in their life and has been a continuous problem for at least 6 months. These behaviors must also cause a hardship for the child in at least tow areas of their life – school, home, playground, in the community, or in social settings.
There are various ways to help the child with ADHD. What works well for one child may not work as well for another child with ADHD. The best approach is a multifaceted one. Usually a combination of medication and behavior therapy works best. It should definitely be a team effort between parents, the doctor and any teachers or other adults who spend time with the child. Because of their inability to control their actions at times, quite often the ADHD child will need more structure and expectations will need to be clearly expressed.
Medicine has also been found to help many of the children, but can often be at smaller doses if it is combined with behavior therapy. Some children may benefit from counseling due to the fact that living with ADHD can be very frustrating and lead to anger. Families may also benefit from counseling or education as to how to react and deal with the ADHD child. Some of the medications that are used to help control attention, impulsiveness, concentration and over activity are: methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, pemoline, atomoxetine, and adderall. Much “experimentation” must be done with each individual child to find which medication and at what dosage will work best for the child. Medication does not cure ADHD, it only controls the symptoms. Children with ADHD can be helped to cope with their everyday problems and feel better about themselves through behavior therapy, counseling and support from caregivers. vyvanse 40 mg