What Causes ADHD

Posted in ADHD on January 24th, 2006


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What Is ADHD

Posted in ADHD on January 17th, 2006

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It was once known as ADD or attention deficit disorder but was renamed in 1994 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

ADHD is a mental and developmental condition of inattention and distractibility that becomes evident in some children in the early school years. ADHD is the name of a group of behavioral disorder found in many children and adults. Studies show that people with ADHD have differences in the parts of their brains that eventually control their attention and activity. It is a condition characterized by their behavioral and learning disorders. The disorder is three times more common among boys than girls. Symptoms are always present before the age of 7 and can continue through adolescence, causing children and adults significant social or academic impairment. Symptoms of this disorder often become less severe in the late teenage and early adulthood years.

Dr. Heinrich Hoffman, a physician who wrote books on medicine and psychiatry, first described ADHD in 1845. In 1902, Sir George F. Still published a series of lectures in England in which he described a group of hyperactive children with significant behavioral disorders — caused by a dysfunction in their genetic makeup and not by poor child-rearing practices — as having ADHD. Nowadays, these children are easily recognized as thousands of studies and scientific investigations into ADHD have been published. These studies provide sufficient information on the nature, causes, symptoms and treatments of ADHD.

A child with ADHD faces a complex situation. He or she should receive help, guidance, and understanding from his or her environment, especially from parents. Naturally, all children, particularly younger ones, act anxious or excited at times. However, the difference with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is that symptoms are there over a longer period of time and occurs in different settings. They disrupt a child’s capacity to function socially, academically and at home.

The cause of this disorder is a deficiency of chemicals in the brain that are responsible for systematizing thought. Without enough of these chemicals, the organizing centers of the brain don’t perform well. Studies show that attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is more common in children who have close relatives with the disorder. Recent studies also link smoking and other substance abuse during pregnancy to the disorder. Medications such as Ritalin are used most often to treat the disorder.

For more information about understanding and managing the effects of ADHD please visit Recognizing and Treating ADHD.

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Getting Your Child Evaluated for ADHD

Posted in ADHD on January 14th, 2006

Parents usually see signs of ADHD in their children long before they start school. Children have different rates in their level of maturity and they have very different personalities, attitudes, and energy rates, so it’s helpful to get an expert’s outlook of whether the behavior is appropriate for the child’s age. Parents can ask their specialists to evaluate whether the child has an ADHD or is just being immature, childish or unusually energetic.

If ADHD seems like a possibility, the family can turn to health professionals in the field of ADHD training or in mental disorder diagnosis. There are different specialists trained in different areas, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, developmental and behavioral pediatricians, neurologists and even clinical social workers. Parents should determine which specialist will be most suitable for their child by talking to their family physician and getting recommendations from him or her.

There are a lot of specialists who deal with ADHD. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications and treatments and provide a therapy program. Psychologists are qualified to diagnose and treat ADHD through therapy (but cannot prescribe medication). Neurologists are doctors who deal with disorders of the nervous system and brain, and they are also trained in diagnosing ADHD and can prescribe medication, though they don’t usually provide therapy for the emotional side of ADHD. In choosing a specialist, it’s important to look for someone with specialized training who has experience dealing with the disorder.

In getting the child ready for evaluation of his or her ADHD, the specialist first checks the child’s records, both educational and medical. The child’s needs and personal history are carefully considered and analyzed. The specialist determines what effect the child’s environment has on his or her behavior and how the parent and child deal with it. Then, the specialist collects information related to the child’s recent behavior and compares it with the warning signs of ADHD. The specialist also observes the child’s behavior in different environments, such as at home, school or in the community. People who are in contact with the child are asked for their observations on the child’s behavior. They are presented with evaluation forms or behavior rating scales. After the data gathering and observation, the specialist can now compare the child’s behavior to that of other kids in the same age group.

Most of the time children with ADHD are evaluated for mental health and social adjustment. A specialist conducts tests to check for a learning disability. Once all the information is gathered, the specialist answers different sets of questions to help him or her identify whether the child’s hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention are significant and long-standing. Some of these questions are: Which ADHD-like behaviors does the child show? In what situations? How often? How long has the child been doing them? How old was the child when the problem started? Are the behaviors seriously interfering with the child’s relationship in home, school or community? Or does the child have any other related problems?

Providing recommendations to school staff, selecting the right medication, seeking a more appropriate classroom setting, and helping parents and teachers to manage the child’s behavior are vital for an effective social medication. Once the disorder is identified, the child and family can get whatever help they need, whether it’s emotional, educational or medical.

Truly no single treatment is the answer for every child having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If a child with ADHD has anxiety or depression, a combined treatment medication and behavioral therapy is usually best.

 

For more information about understanding and managing the effects of ADHD please visit Recognizing and Treating ADHD.


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Welcome

Posted in ADHD on January 1st, 2006

Hello and welcome to the all new ADHD blog. There are some great articles and posts coming up over the next few weeks that will give you the inside info on recognizing and treating ADHD. Please come back soon for a visit!

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