The term attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) describes both the primary features of this disorder – inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior. The condition affects children and can continue into adulthood for some. Considered an inheritable brain disorder, the condition affects one in nine children or about 6.4 million youth in the United States. In some children, the prominent signs and symptoms of this condition become evident right from 2-3 years of age.
Children with attention-deficit disorder normally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They find it difficult to follow instructions, tend to move constantly, and tend to be impulsive in their behavior. Though such behavior is quite common in children, they occur more than usual and are more severe in children affected by this condition. Ultimately, these behavioral problems limit the child’s ability to function at school and at home. On the other hand, adults suffering from this condition may experience problems related to time management, organizational skills, and goal setting. They may also have difficulty in managing their relationships, self-esteem and other addictions.
The main symptoms of ADHD are generally grouped into three categories
- Tendency to daydream
- Have problems with organizing tasks
- Forgetful about daily activities
- Get distracted easily
- Do not listen to or follow instructions
- Avoid or dislike activities that require sitting still or a sustained effort
- Talks excessively
- Sense of restlessness (always moves around)
- Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
- Has difficulty in playing quietly
- Does not stay seated as expected
- Interrupts other people
- Difficulty in waiting for his or her turn
- Blurts out answers before listening carefully
What causes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder?
The exact causes of this behavioral condition are not known and researchers continue their efforts to identify them. The development of the condition has been attributed to multiple factors. Genes play a prominent role. Experts also believe that the imbalance of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that transmit nerve impulses may be a factor in the development of ADHD. Other factors include:
- Premature delivery
- Low birth weight
- Environmental exposures
- Brain injury
- Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
Regardless of causes of this disorder, it can affect a child’s development socially and academically. It can increase the risk of childhood depression and anxiety disorders and the inability to focus often leads to poor academic performance.
There are no laboratory tests to detect this neurological disorder. Physicians perform a detailed analysis of the patient’s behavior and study instant responses to the questions to detect the condition. The family’s description of the child’s behavior and a school assessment also help. A child must have displayed signs of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity that is inconsistent of his/her age for at least 6 months, and these must have appeared by at least 12 years of age.
Medication therapy is an important aspect of treating ADHD. However, medications cannot cure the condition and can only work to control symptoms. Chiropractic has been found to be an effective solution. Chiropractors provide non-drug treatments that focus on postural muscles, nutrition and lifestyle changes that affect brain activity. Further brain examination includes testing visual, auditory and other sensory reflexes. Based on the results of this exam, they develop individual non-invasive treatment modalities to correct the problem. In most cases, treatment includes a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Counseling and social skills training also help a child to better handle frustrations and build self-esteem.
Parent education and support are also important part of ADHD treatment. Parents need to follow a more structured approach. They need to post a daily schedule for children as this will remind them what they are supposed to do at any given time and help them stay on task. The schedule should include specific times for each activity like waking, playing, eating, studying, homework and bed time. By following the right treatment approach, children with this neurological problem can show significant improvement.