Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder that is usually characterized by attention problems and hyperactivity. This is the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disease that probably affects anywhere about 3 to 5 percent of children worldwide. In most of the patients, the first symptoms of ADHD are recognizable before the age of 7. However, it may take up to couple of years before the child gets a proper diagnosis. Treatment for ADHD is very important, since this is a chronic disorder that in many individuals continues even into adulthood. Today, scientists believe that 4.7 percent of American adults live affected with disease.
Signs and symptoms of ADHD
ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, the exact symptoms are very hard to single out, as ADHD manifests differently in different patients. These children are generally easily distracted; they are very forgetful and often miss even the important details. Most frequently, they keep switching from one activity to another and have difficulties to focus on a single task. When they need to remain focused, they usually become bored after just a couple of minutes. Older patients with ADHD tend to develop different sorts of coping mechanisms to compensate some of their impairments.
Treatment for ADHD for children
There are many safe and effective treatments that can improve the symptoms of this disease. Treatment may make a dramatic change in little patient’s life as it helps to improve organizational skills and build better relationships. Treatment usually involves a combination of behavior modification, life-style changes, counseling, and medication.
Medications are not effective for all patients. Medications deliver the best effect if combined with behavioral treatment. Behavioral treatment is very efficient in children with mild symptoms and for preschool kids. Other psychosocial approaches, such as parental training, family therapy and education, have been found to have only short term benefits. However, several support groups exist, and they are beneficial for other family members to help them cope with challenges associated with ADHD. The most important thing for every treatment is to be consistent with the rules and discipline, establishing a clear daily routine for the child.
Commonly used medications are usually different stimulants and atomoxetine. However, medications are rarely prescribed for preschool children and doctors generally do not recommend medical treatment for younger patients. This is because modern science still doesn’t have enough information about the long-term effects or side effects of stimulants for ADHD. However, the general policy on this question may vary from one country to another. In the
United Kingdom, medications are used only in severe cases, while doctors in the United States recommend medication in nearly all cases, but usually as a complementary treatment to behavioral therapy.