Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children, as it is usually detected at an early age and may last until adulthood. This disorder often causes problems maintaining attention, controlling impulsive behavior, or being hyperactive. According to studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 9.4% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD and only 33% of children with ADHD finish high school.
It may be normal for children to have difficulty maintaining attention, however, in children with ADHD the difficulty usually remains over the years. This disorder may start to cause problems with academic performance, at home, or with friends.
Here are some of the behaviors that may occur in children with ADHD:
It is also considered that there are three different types of general ADHD, which are categorized by the symptom that predominates in the child’s behavior. The general categories are:
Throughout the years, experts have found that there are 7 more specific categories of ADHD, categorizing them by their characteristics and effects on the patient.
Although the causes of this disorder are not always certain, it is thought that many of the possible causes may come from environmental factors, or problems during pregnancy or childbirth. The most likely causes for ADHD are:
Unfortunately, many people with ADHD are never diagnosed, so they will never receive adequate treatment to manage the consequences of this disorder. This is a fairly common problem, as a study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shows that 5.4% of adult men and 3.2% of adult women have ADHD and only 20% of them are diagnosed. Untreated ADHD may result in:
Over the years, a wide variety of treatments have been used to help treat ADHD. Currently, the American Pediatric Association recommends behavioral therapies, which are accompanied by different medications. Children between the ages of 4 and 5 are advised to only use behavioral therapy and to use medications only if the therapy is not effective on its own.
Behavior therapy consists of exercises to learn or strengthen positive behaviors and eliminate unwanted ones. This therapy may also include training for parents
Parent therapy is about learning skills and strengthening those they already have in order to guide their children to have and maintain positive behaviors. It has also been proven that this therapy helps parents strengthen their relationship with their children and decreases problematic behaviors of children.
Similarly, in behavioral therapy for children, the therapist works with them to replace bad behaviors or problems. Many times, therapists help children find assertive ways to express their emotions, so they don’t cause problems for themselves and others.
There is also behavioral therapy accompanied by medication for children in middle school and teenagers. Some of the processes that are carried out are the following:
In addition to behavioral therapy, it is very common to use medicine to help control the symptoms of ADHD, such as behavioral problems. There are stimulant and non-stimulant medicines. Stimulants are the best known and commonly used because of their effectiveness to treat the symptoms of ADHD in a very short time. Non-stimulating treatments, despite not working quickly, have a duration of up to 24 hours.
Also, it is important to mention that medications may affect every child in different ways, so the patient should always be kept under constant and strict monitoring and follow-up, in order to be able to make adjustments to treatments and medications if necessary.
In addition to behavioral therapies and commonly used medications, there are other types of complementary treatments such as:
It is important to mention that these treatments are not supported by scientific evidence as they show little, if any, effectiveness to treat ADHD, so it is recommended to consult this type of complementary treatments with your doctor.
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Manuel Ruiz is a 27-year-old who tells the story of his ADHD diagnosis at the age of 7. At that young age, many of his symptoms were evident to him and his classmates, so his classmates labeled him “the freak” and “the weird one” without knowing that he was suffering from a serious condition. This affected his security and mental health. This situation continued over the years, until adolescence, where these types of conditions have very strong effects on people’s well-being. For Manuel, his adolescence was one of his biggest “scars”, as he had to fight against the label that had been put on him since he was a child. Over the years and with a lot of work, Manuel has managed to get over this and now has a full and happy life.
As parents, you should always keep in mind that ADHD is a very common disorder in children, so it is recommended to always be on the lookout for any symptoms and consult with your family doctor about the best approaches to this disorder. Also, it is very important for parents to take therapy with their children to strengthen their relationship and avoid feelings of abandonment. Similarly, you should always keep an eye on your children so that appropriate changes to their treatment can be made to ensure their well-being and happiness.
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