Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder affecting the neuro-developmental disorder. It affects children and adults causing hyperactive and impulsive behaviours. ADHD is diagnosed at childhood and can also be diagnosed in adults.
ADHD may cause relationship problems, difficulty in learning and low self esteem in children. ADHD causes is unknown but have been linked to genetic factor, environment and malfunction of the chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain at the developmental stage of a child diagnosed with the disorder. Alcohol and tobacco smoking during pregnancy have also been associated with ADHD symptoms in children. The claims that food additives such as sugar in diet can cause hyperactivity behaviour associated with ADHD in children has not been supported by any scientific evidence.
Symptoms are based on the type of ADHD, and they include:
- Predominatly inattentive; people in this category have difficulty completing tasks, they appear not listening even when they are spoken to, easily distracted and forget to do tasks.
- Predominat hyperactive-impulsive; interuptive, fidget too often, distrupt while others are talking, and talking too much.
- Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type; people in this category have a combination of the other two ADHD types.
Living with ADHD and looking after a child with ADHD can be difficult, but there are few tips to help you manage through.
- Effective planning of day time activity with the child.Set boundaries and ensure that you let the child know about positive behaviours.
- Be positive in your approach at dealing with issues arising with the child.
- Be specific about instructions and be prepared to give incentives for good behaviours.
- Set social time and make them short and fulfilling for the child.
- Intervene promptly at earliest sign and warning of symptoms. Ensure child is calm and moved away from situation.
- Encourage child to take some form of non strenuous physical activity such as walking, skipping and swimming.
- Watch food and diet such as caffeine that can trigger hyperactivity in child.
- Set routine for night time and encourage child to be involved in such routines to enable them sleep well.
- Seek help from appropriate support bodies and organisations including from child‘s school teachers, and doctors looking after child.
ADHD if not diagnosed early can affect the emotional wellbeing of the child. Poor self esteem, substance abuse, eating disorders, sleeping problems are few complications that can occur as a result of untreated ADHD.
It is therefore recommended that parents of a child with ADHD seeks appropriate help and treatment from healthcare professionals. Treatment including use of medicines, psychological based therapy, counselling and other educational approaches may help a child with ADHD continue to live their lives into adulthood.
GEORGE ORISILE (PHARMAHEALTHTALK)