Attention deficit disorder (ADHD) - symptoms and treatment

Many mental disorders begin to develop in early childhood, but cannot be diagnosed until the child is 5 years old. The diagnosis of ADHD is most often made in early preschool age, although symptoms of the disorder may appear earlier. This is due to the fact that diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder requires an assessment of the child’s learning ability, his social functions, as well as an analysis of behavior in different settings (at home and at school). Attention deficit disorder is one of the most controversial diagnoses. There is an opinion among many ordinary people that this is just another “fashionable” disorder that justifies laziness and bad upbringing. But this is far from true. Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, scientific works appeared that described several children with increased impulsiveness, hyperreactivity and inattention. Today, ADHD symptoms appear in approximately 6% of the population, but only 2% of people seek qualified medical help. This psychological disorder is more often diagnosed in boys. It is less common among girls, but its treatment requires a more serious approach. In addition, the symptoms of ADHD in the fairer sex are less pronounced, and hyperactivity may be absent altogether.

Raising and educating children with the syndrome is very difficult. Many parents cannot come to terms with the idea that their child may have a mental disorder. They blame others, the school, and, somewhat less frequently, themselves for their child’s behavior. But if you take the necessary measures in time, you can significantly improve the child’s condition. To do this, first of all, you need to understand what attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is.

What to do if your child has hyperactivity

ADHD is most often diagnosed in childhood. Most often, parents of restless babies or teaching staff of children's educational institutions turn to specialists. The child understands others well. He hears and fulfills the requests of adults, but is too impulsive to accurately carry out the instructions received.

Adults often try to justify all the child’s pranks with this diagnosis. In reality, it is confirmed in no more than 3-5% of babies. Most of them are boys. The course of the disease differs:

  • boys show a tendency to aggression and are characterized by hypertrophied disobedience;
  • girls suffer from inattention, which can lead to learning problems.

In a third of children, ADHD goes away on its own during adolescence, without the use of specialized medical practices and medications.

Parents hold two polar points of view on the treatment of ADHD. About half consider the possibility of such a pathology to be far-fetched and refuse therapy, believing that the disorder will go away on its own with age. On the contrary, many parents exaggerate the danger of this disease for the development of the child. Hyperactivity requires mandatory monitoring by doctors and appropriate adjustment; in most cases, the pathology is successfully cured. Parents need:

  • undergo a comprehensive examination to accurately establish a diagnosis;
  • follow the specialist’s recommendations to create the most comfortable conditions for the child, carefully monitor the baby’s condition;
  • fulfill all requirements, go through all necessary procedures;
  • attend a consultation with a family psychologist.

A child with ADHD is characterized by an increased level of emotionality. He needs to be praised often, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence. In games, it is recommended to exclude competitive aspects that can lead to negative effects on the psyche. It is imperative to set boundaries for the child’s behavior. For example, give simple and executable instructions (take out the trash, wash your cup after yourself and other small tasks). The baby should grow up in the most favorable conditions, but clearly understand the boundaries of behavior so as not to become overly spoiled.

It is advisable to carry out diagnostics in a specialized medical center. Only in such a situation can a neurological disorder be confirmed, excluding simple increased activity or poor upbringing. A preliminary assessment of the condition can be carried out at a local clinic.

Live on: recommendations and advice

A disease that cannot be cured surgically often shocks patients. Thus, the most common causes of hyperactivity in adults are a genetic predisposition or the presence of an underlying disease that increases the risk of developing the disorder, such as Tourette syndrome or depression. Nevertheless, life does not stand still and moves inexorably forward. Experts in the field of clinical psychology provide a number of tips that will help you not give up and reduce symptoms.

  1. Planning the day. Distributing tasks helps you focus on completing them. A list of required responsibilities may seem like a pointless exercise, but it helps you know what to expect at this time. For example, a person needs to create a project, but only through structured steps will he be able to complete the task as effectively as possible.
  2. Objective reward. The main sources of treatment are motivation and praise. The patient is advised to tune in to positive behavior and reward himself with purchases and favorite activities that will not harm his health. For example, this could be a trip to the cinema or a walk in your favorite park. Even for completing one of the items in your diary, it is important not to forget to say to yourself a simple “well done.”
  3. Exercises. Exercise is an effective way to reduce hyperactivity throughout the day. By devoting at least half an hour a day to exercise, a person will not only be able to use excess energy, but also increase tone, pump up muscles and normalize the quality of sleep. Sport involves moderate activity and therefore, when performing exercises, you should not exceed your own physical capabilities.

  4. Diet. You should get rid of caffeine and other nervous system stimulants. Some foods also have a similar effect, toning the mind and increasing energy. It is recommended to create a balanced, healthy menu. Experts advise getting a notebook where a person will write down the main foods he ate during the day.
  5. Relaxation before bed. Often people with hyperactivity suffer from insomnia because they cannot calm down. Noisy parties, computer games or watching an action movie have a negative impact on your vacation. Patients are advised to maintain a routine several hours before bedtime and to go to bed and wake up at the same time.

In the modern world, hyperactivity is not a death sentence for any person. By following the advice of specialists in the field of clinical psychology, correctly establishing a diagnosis and adhering to a course of treatment, you can live with the disorder and get rid of it in the future.


Treatment of hyperactivity in children

In medical practice, several options are used to treat hyperactivity in children. First of all, a thorough examination of the small patient is carried out. One of the main goals is to exclude potential pathology.

Further, experts prefer to prescribe non-drug courses. Psychological, pedagogical and psychological methods are used in the work. Participation in the treatment process of the whole family becomes an important condition. For this purpose, specialized family practices are used. This will allow you to establish contact with a child suffering from hyperactivity and develop a treatment program.

In acute situations and in the absence of effect in treatment using psychological classes and trainings, the following medications are selected:

  • depressants are prescribed, Amitriptyline, Methylphenidate;
  • Focalin, Vyvanse, Methylin contribute to increasing the level of concentration;
  • glycine helps improve brain function;
  • nootropic drugs Phenibut, Pantogam and others.

All of these medications are used simultaneously in the treatment of a child in exceptional cases. An individual therapy program is developed for each little patient.

Therapy sessions

Approaches to eliminating hyperactivity in adults often include combined methods. The patient is simultaneously referred for behavioral therapy and given a prescription for medications. Treatment takes place exclusively taking into account individual problems:

  • Relaxation and stress management training. Reduce anxiety and tension.
  • Individual cognitive and behavioral therapy to improve self-esteem.
  • Mentoring. Helps maintain business relationships and improves productivity in the workplace.
  • Therapy for family problems.
  • Teaching the individual strategies for organizing home and work events.

If the early stages of hyperactivity are identified, the behavior can be regulated as quickly as possible, but if the situation is ignored, the degree of complexity of the disorder may increase, and treatment will take many years. With prompt intervention, adults can get rid of psychological difficulties and emotional outbursts.

Hyperactivity syndrome in children

It is possible to assume that a child has such a diagnosis at a very early age. Already in the first months the child sleeps poorly. He has an excessively violent reaction to noise and bright light. He reacts violently to hygiene procedures and gets overexcited during the simplest games. There is a slight lag behind the norm in psychomotor skills.

The presence of the disease can be determined at the age of three years. Psychologists mark this age as the first turning point. All kids become capricious and demanding. Children with hyperactivity have a delay in speech development, movements are fussy and chaotic.

The syndrome is accompanied by physiological disorders. The baby often experiences headaches, increased fatigue, and is diagnosed with enuresis and nervous tics.

In the preschool years, children with the syndrome are slower than their peers to learn new material, which is explained by their insufficient ability to concentrate. This situation continues after entering school. The lag in the assimilation of knowledge is caused not by low mental abilities, but by the lack of the ability to concentrate attention and fully remember all the new material.

Emerging problems provoke increased sensitivity and aggressiveness in the child. He becomes anxious and whiny, and phobias develop. As a child with ADHD grows up, self-esteem decreases and complexes arise. Without treatment, they can last a lifetime.

Types of ADHD

Highly qualified specialists practice an individual approach to the treatment of the syndrome. This is due, first of all, to the fact that for successful recovery it is necessary to eliminate the causes of the pathology. To date, several types of this disorder have been identified, requiring different approaches to therapy:

  • the classic form is associated with disturbances in the functioning of the frontal lobe cortex. In this case, classic ADHD symptoms will appear, such as instability of attention, absent-mindedness, disorientation, etc. To achieve lasting results, drug therapy can be used to increase dopamine levels in the brain. Patients are advised to reduce their intake of simple carbohydrates and introduce high-protein foods into their diet;
  • inattentive type. The core symptoms of ADHD will be complemented by a tendency to become self-obsessed, lack of energy, detachment and lack of motivation. This type of disorder is usually diagnosed at an older age and is more common in girls. The development of the inattentive type of ADHD is caused by a decrease in brain activity in the cerebellum and frontal cortex;
  • attention deficit disorder with excessive fixation. Classic ADHD symptoms in this case are combined with a tendency to dwell on negative thoughts and obsessive behavior. Patients with this type of disease are overly touchy and restless, often argue and go against their mentors;
  • If there is a disorder in the temporal lobes of ADHD, symptoms will include increased temperament. The patient may experience a feeling of anxiety, headaches and discomfort in the abdominal area. Characterized by the appearance of gloomy thoughts, memory problems, difficulties in reading texts, as well as incorrect interpretation of comments addressed to the patient;
  • limbic type. Primary ADHD symptoms are accompanied by melancholy, a desire to isolate oneself from others, low self-esteem, sleep disorders and lack of appetite. Stimulants should not be used to treat this type of syndrome, as they can lead to the development of depression.

Also, the main symptoms of the disorder may be accompanied by outbursts of anger and moodiness, a desire to always be in opposition and increased talkativeness, hypersensitivity to loud sounds and bright lights, as well as hasty thinking.

Diagnosis of hyperactivity

Children suspected of having ADHD are under the constant supervision of their attending pediatrician. In this case, a neurological diagnosis is not established earlier than 5-7 years. This is due to the developmental characteristics of preschool children. Child psychologists try to diagnose only after the completion of the transitional age crises of 3 and 7 years.

Diagnosis is carried out by a child psychologist together with a neurologist and pediatrician. Consultation with several specialists makes it possible to exclude other diagnoses that lead to increased activity and excitability. Also, during diagnosis, doctors reassure parents that their baby’s increased excitability, restlessness, is only a manifestation of character.

The baby’s condition is monitored from the first weeks of life. If hyperactivity is suspected, the doctor conducts a thorough analysis of the child’s behavior in everyday life.

Diagnostics includes three stages:

  • a conversation between a child psychologist and the child’s parents;
  • researching;
  • obtaining advice from the pediatrician treating the baby.

To confirm the diagnosis in a hospital setting, EEG, REG, M-Echo, MRI are performed. Before conducting research, it is recommended to keep your child busy with an interesting game. You can give a mild sedative.

Symptoms of hyperactivity

Doctors recommend conducting studies to confirm the diagnosis at the age of 5-12 years. The child has already gone through the first transitional periods and his character has been formed. But the first signs of this neurological disease appear much earlier. Parents are advised to pay attention to:

  • the baby begins to hold his head up, crawl, walk, and sit earlier than his peers;
  • sleeps less than normal and has difficulty falling asleep;
  • They are highly sensitive to sharp sounds, bright light and other unexpected factors.

Children with ADHD often experience autonomic disturbances. There may be frequent stomach upsets and diarrhea. Allergic reactions often occur.

Among the neurological symptoms, the main one is impaired concentration. The baby has difficulty concentrating on one activity or subject. He avoids cyclical affairs. A child can become attentive only during one-on-one lessons with a teacher. Movements are chaotic. The baby's facial expressions are expressive. He speaks quickly, often slurring his words and jumping from one topic to another. The baby is impulsive and, when choosing a course of action, is guided only by his own desires. Indicative symptoms include frequent mood swings and a tendency to take risks.

All manifestations are associated with the vulnerability of the nervous system of a child with ADHD, which finds it difficult to process a large amount of information coming from the outside world.

Additional symptoms include:

  • impaired communication with peers;
  • the occurrence of problems in learning with a normal level of intelligence;
  • delay in emotional development;
  • low self-esteem that develops at an early age.

Hyperactivity also has its positive sides. Children are active, they are mobile and active. They perfectly “read” the mood of the interlocutor and for the sake of people

Causes of hyperactivity

Among the causes of the violation:

  • unfavorable course of the mother's pregnancy, including smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy;
  • neurological disorders during intrauterine development, for example, fetal hypoxia, asphyxia at the time of birth, premature birth;
  • the influence of the family atmosphere on the development of the child in the first months of life, frequent scandals of parents, malnutrition and other unfavorable factors.

The likelihood of hyperexcitability increases as the number of these factors that appear together increases.

Diagnosis of hyperactivity

Such a diagnosis can only be made by a specialist after conducting a series of studies. In recent years, this neurological disorder has been identified as a separate pathology. The diagnosis is officially accepted in international medical practice.

Confirmation of the diagnosis indicates the presence of a chronic neurological disorder. Without the necessary treatment, it can last a lifetime. Without therapy, the disease develops in three directions:

  • the child stops believing in himself and withdraws;
  • he may experience serious mental disorders, he will begin to live in an imaginary world;
  • cope with the pathology on their own, but with great difficulties.

Timely initiation of therapy will help correct the course of the pathology and make the prognosis favorable.

Correction of hyperactivity

It is important for parents to monitor their baby’s development from the first days of life. Especially in the case of the presence of negative factors that accompanied the bearing of a child and its birth.

A careful attitude towards the baby in the family will help eliminate ADHD. The home should have a calm and favorable environment. Parents are not recommended to raise their voice to the child or be overly demanding of him.

It is important to form adequate self-esteem in a child from a very early age, praising small actions successfully performed and calmly paying attention to possible mistakes made. They are inevitable, but you should not put too much emphasis on them, causing the child to feel guilty. The support of elders in all endeavors is important for a child. He should have a calm daily routine with the obligatory presence of daily walks with active games, the formation of habits in the field of proper nutrition helps in controlling hyperactivity.

Such careful attitude is required for any child, but the implementation of such corrective rules is mandatory in families with a hyperactive child. It is important for parents to regularly consult a doctor for behavioral diagnosis. In case of acute conditions, the doctor prescribes a set of corrective medications. Only specialists can prescribe any medications. Independent therapy in choosing a course of treatment is prohibited.

Why is this a problem

Adults usually do not pay attention to the child’s behavior, believing that he will “outgrow” with age. And they turn to a doctor only when the problem simply cannot be ignored.

In kindergarten, the problem is just beginning to develop. But when the child goes to school, the signs begin to be expressed more clearly. The educational process requires organization of classes, that is, this is exactly what the baby is not prepared for. Poor concentration, active mobility and inappropriate behavior in class make a full-fledged educational process impossible.

Children with increased activity constantly need the supervision of a teacher, since it is very difficult to focus the child’s attention on the educational process, he is constantly engaged in extraneous matters, is distracted, and lacks attention. The teacher's patience and experience are often not enough to correct destructive behavior. A reverse reaction begins to form—aggression.

The development of such children lags behind their classmates. Teachers cannot adapt to the developing pathology, this leads to conflicts. A hyperactive child at school is often subject to bullying by peers, and he develops problems with communication. They don’t want to be friends with him; this causes resentment, attacks of assault, and aggression.

The tendency to lead due to the impossibility of being one begins to give rise to the development of low self-esteem. After a certain time, isolation develops. Psychological problems appear more pronounced.

Many parents are frightened by this diagnosis. They may believe that their child is developmentally delayed. This is a wrong opinion, because in fact a hyperactive baby:

  1. Creative. He has many interesting ideas, and his imagination is very rich. If mom and dad help the child, in the future he will be able to become a wonderful specialist with a creative approach to business or a representative of a creative profession with multifaceted interests.
  2. He has a flexible mind, is distinguished by enthusiasm and the ability to find solutions to complex problems. He is versatile, has many interests, and strives to be the center of attention.
  3. Energetic and unpredictable. This property can be both beneficial and negative. The baby has a lot of strength for different activities, but it can be almost impossible to keep him in place.

There is an opinion that a hyperactive baby is always on the move and moves chaotically. This is not entirely true. If any activity absorbs all the attention of a preschooler, he may forget about everything else. It is important for parents to encourage hobbies by allowing them to choose what to do.

The symptoms of hyperactivity in a child and his intellectual abilities are in no way connected. Very often these guys are very talented. In addition to treatment, they need to be educated, kept within clear boundaries, trying to develop their natural abilities. They often dance, sing, and perform in public wonderfully.

Hyperactivity in adults

For a long time, ADHD was considered a disease that occurs only in young patients and goes away as they grow older towards adolescence. Research in recent years has confirmed that hyperactivity can occur at any age. As a rule, diagnosis in adults is associated with an error in determining the causes of hyperactive behavior in early years. This caused errors in treatment. Sometimes the disease was simply not diagnosed.

Adult patients experience symptoms similar to those of the disease in childhood. Due to adaptation, most adult patients are characterized by increased excitability and hyperactivity. This leads to symptoms:

  • difficulties when working according to instructions;
  • patients are unable to maintain attention when performing monotonous and tedious actions;
  • have weak organizational abilities;
  • execute several processes simultaneously without completing the action;
  • are forgetful when performing daily duties, may forget objects and goals;
  • unable to control the volume of the voice or remain patient, for example, when standing in line;
  • interrupting the interlocutors' statements;
  • swiftness and variability of behavior;
  • increased irritability.

Experts note other factors as well. A positive feature of ADHD in adult patients is high performance. They often successfully build a career, reaching significant career heights. The disadvantages include the occurrence of problems in interpersonal communication, which often interfere with maintaining a high quality of life. Including destructive interpersonal connections with low adaptation. Treatment for hyperactivity can begin at any age. Patients are prescribed corrective medications and undergo individual and collective psychological training.

Positive sides

Quite often, hyperactivity disorder in adults leads to alcohol or drug abuse. There are cases of accidents while intoxicated, when a person gets behind the wheel impulsively, wanting to prove a point or escape from problems.

However, hyperactivity is not painted exclusively in dark colors, but has a number of advantages. These include:

  • High energy.
  • Creative approach to problem solving.
  • Increased empathy, intuition and insight.
  • Good sense of humour.
  • Enterprise.
  • Boundless tenacity.
  • Focus on your favorite hobby.

Hyperactivity in schoolchildren

During school years, ADHD causes problems with mastering the educational program. A low level of ability to maintain attention during lessons and a lack of willingness to concentrate while doing homework causes a significant decline in academic performance. Lack of control on the part of doctors leads to increased anxiety.

Schoolchildren suffering from hyperactivity fall into the category of unsuccessful students, despite the ideal state of intellectual abilities. The child becomes nervous and hot-tempered. His self-esteem decreases.

Manifestation of hyperactivity

People with this neurological disorder tend to:

  • inability to concentrate on performing monotonous routine actions;
  • a patient with ADHD is unable to concentrate while maintaining a conversation;
  • he can be irritable and moody, prone to mood swings;
  • Such people are characterized by impulsiveness and a tendency to take risks.

Diagnostics are necessary to identify pathology. Often these symptoms can accompany a certain eccentricity of a person who does not have neurological pathologies. They also accompany some complex psychiatric disorders.

An examination is recommended for an accurate diagnosis. This will allow us to develop an effective option for complex therapy that provides comprehensive and qualified care. Treatment of hyperactivity is carried out on an outpatient basis. In most cases, psychological therapy is carried out without the use of drugs or the use of drugs in minimal dosages.

Hyperactivity in preschool children

ADHD in children who have not yet reached school age has certain characteristics. Hyperactivity in patients is observed from a very early age, which indicates an innate predisposition to potential disorders. However, doctors do not recommend making a diagnosis confirming a neurological disorder before the age of 5-12 years.

This is due to the peculiarities of the formation of the psyche of a small child. Many children are characterized by increased emotionality, which does not indicate the presence of pathology. Additionally, behavior is affected by the first crises of adolescence, which a person experiences with varying degrees of severity during the period of approximately three and seven years. At this time, every child becomes capricious and begins to attract the attention of adults, becoming either too passive or hyperexcitable.

In preschool age, parents or teachers can only pay attention to a certain predisposition of the child to the future development of pathology. If symptoms persist for months and years, parents should carefully monitor the child’s behavior, pay attention to his communication with peers, and educational progress. Confirmation of the diagnosis is carried out only after a minimum of five years of age.

Hyperactivity syndrome is a pathology that, without proper treatment, can significantly worsen the patient’s quality of life at any age. This neurological diagnosis will be monitored by experienced specialists. The help of doctors and relatives ensures proper adjustment of the behavior of people suffering from ADHD.

Other factors

Some groups are thought to be at greater risk of hyperactivity in adulthood, especially if they have other problems:

  • Anxiety disorder. Stressful situations make you feel anxious, nervous, and increase your heart rate, causing dizziness, sweating, or physical changes such as exhaustion if you are not careful about eating regularly.
  • Oppositional defiant disorder. Negative, impulsive behavior. It manifests itself, in particular, to authority figures: parents, superiors, supervisors, curators, deans.
  • Conduct disorder. Antisocial actions that are contrary to moral standards. People who are prone to destructive behavior often involve theft, fighting, vandalism, and can also cause physical harm to a person or animal.
  • Depression. Depressed state, apathy, indifference to surrounding experiences.
  • Sleep problems. Inability to relax, insomnia.
  • Autism spectrum disorder. Affects social interaction, communication, interests and behavior.
  • Bronchial hyperactivity syndrome. It occurs more often in adults than in children. A characteristic symptom is a constant cough, especially in summer. If the bronchi do not function properly, not only oxygen enters them, but also dust and substances that irritate the mucous membrane settle.
  • Epilepsy. A condition in which brain processes are affected. The person may experience uncontrollable seizures or faint.
  • Tourette's syndrome. A disorder of the nervous system characterized by persistent motor tics and involuntary noises. For example, a person may simultaneously jerk his head, whistle, or swear uncontrollably.
  • Difficulties in mastering the material. Characterized by dyslexia is the inability to concentrate on reading or write down words without the letters getting mixed up in the process.

The presence of one or more factors increases the risk of detecting hyperactivity syndrome in adults. To identify the disorder, you should consult a specialist. Treatment is prescribed on an individual basis.

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