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Basic Guide To Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Sep 3, 2008
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental & behavioral disorder, usually suffered by children (mostly boys), sometimes adults as well. It can be characterized by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsiveness which are unusual for a child's age.

Know some more about ADHD (ADD) -
Two terms are used in this context - ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder). Earlier, the term ADD was used, then renamed ADHD, though ADD is still used to refer to a type of ADHD with no Hyperactivity.

Differences in the parts of the brain controlling attention and activity cause lack of concentration, and slowness in doing jobs. ADHD patients day dream, act impulsively, get hyperactive and restless and are easily distracted by sounds and sights.

What Causes ADHD?
Chemicals called 'Neurotransmitters' help send messages between different nerves cells in a human brain to co-ordinate different activities. Example, Dopamine, a neurotransmitter stimulates attention centers in the brain. Lower amounts of this chemical causes an imbalance, causing improper coordination of different brain activities. Doctors, not sure of the exact cause, believe it to be genetic. Based on the tips that ADHD is more common in boys & seen mostly in kids born premature, research continues.

Symptoms
Usually seen in childhood, ADHD cannot sometimes be diagnosed till teenage or even adulthood. ADHD patients -

1. Cannot stay focused on a task, are less attentive.
2. Keep changing activities, cannot finish tasks.
3. Become forgetful, lose track of things, cannot follow instructions.
4. Are easily distracted by things in the environment, become restless.
5. Cannot organize activities on their own, become careless.
6. Make restless movements of hands / feet cannot be seated quietly or engage in activities patiently, interrupt others.

Facts And Figures
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about 4.4 million people of age 4-17 have ADHD as of 2003, 2.5 million people of the same age group undergoing treatment currently. Reportedly, 7.8% of school aged children suffered in 2003.

Treatment -
ADHD doesn't have exact cure. Different patients need to be treated differently depending on whether the trouble is more on the attention side or activity side. Doctors usually treat with medication, counseling with the family & the patient, changes at schools to adopt particular learning styles.

What can parents do?
Handling kids with ADHD can be quite challenging but making a few changes at home can help. Setting a simple schedule and home rules for the child, helping him understand and follow them, rewarding good behavior and constant supervision, focusing on efforts and not grades and talking to his teachers all help in the longer run.
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