So what is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder- ADHD is a neuro-cognitive disorder. In most cases, it will continue through one’s adolescence and adulthood. It involves difficulty in concentrating for a long period of time, difficulty to control behaviour, and sometimes emotions, which can hamper a child’s performance in school, home as well as adversely affect relations with other children. Although ADHD cannot be cured, there are advanced neuro-cognitive treatment programs to correct the underlying deficiencies and resolve, or significantly improve most symptoms of ADHD.
The symptoms of ADHD in children include getting easily distracted, missing details, forgetting things, difficulty in organizing and completing tasks, losing things, difficulty with listening when spoken to, daydreaming, struggling to follow instructions, fidgeting, excessive talking, inability to sit in one place for too long, impatience, blurting inappropriate remarks, acting without restraint, interrupting others, becoming easily bored and more. In case of ADHD in children, a child must have symptoms such as lack of attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness for 6 months or more and in greater degree than other children of the same age. The symptoms of ADHD in children may start appearing before the age of six. Some kids do not display signs of hyperactivity and restlessness and are therefore categorized under the inattention subtype. It is difficult to spot ADHD in children as some symptoms may appear in some situations and not in others, but if ADHD symptoms persist consistently, it is important to do a specialized ADHD assessment with an experienced clinician, in order to identify the underlying causes of the condition.
The symptoms of ADHD in adults may slightly vary. More than half of adults who are diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder- ADHD experienced it during their childhood. ADHD affects approximately 3% to 10% of children and an approximate 60% of them may continue to have these difficulties towards their adulthood. ADHD in adults may result in problems on interpersonal and professional levels and may also result in other psycho-emotional problems and disorders.
There is no certainty on what causes Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder- ADHD, yet studies suggest the role genetics as the primary cause. Other causes include a combination of factors such as environmental factors, excessive smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy, exposure to high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals as well as brain injuries.
Methylphenidate and amphetamines are the most common types of medication used for the treatment of ADHD. The stimulants essentially activate brain circuits that support attention and focused behaviour, thus reducing impulsivity, hyperactivity and help children to focus better.
The side effects often reported with treatment of ADHD using drugs include decreased hunger, problems related to sleep, uneasiness, and irritability. They can also cause more serious symptoms such as hallucinations, increased heart beat and stroke. Currently, these medications can only control the symptoms when taken. The intake of these medications does not result in better learning abilities, and recent studies have shown that for the long run, these medications do no improve academic performance. While the traditional models of treatment of ADHD include use of counselling, behavioural therapy and emotional support to help children and adults cope with ADHD, there are more modern approaches that offer long-term resolution.
Because ADHD is a neuro-cognitive disorder, only a neuro-cognitive approach can correct the difficulties related to the condition. Neuro-cognitive therapy and training have shown excellent results in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and learning disabilities with marked improvement on all levels. Improving brain regulation combined with developing core cognitive skills such as visual processing, auditory processing, divided attention, multitasking, working memory and more, can contribute to considerable and permanent gains in cognitive performance and significant reduction in ADHD-related symptoms.
One of the pioneers in neuro-cognitive training is the ACEclinics in Toronto, Canada, headed by Bob Gottfried PhD. The clinic specializes in assessment and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders (LD), non-specific neuro-cognitive deficiencies and memory disorders.
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