This is part Two of ADHD. In part One, we looked at the 3 types of ADHD, the symptoms seen in each type, and we even looked at adult cases. Part Two will look into causes of ADHD, the diagnosis, and the management of ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
Genetics is the leading cause for ADHD at this time. It is believed that this disorder could be traced or seen to parents, cousins, grandparents, siblings, and other family members. The hyperactivity portion may be genetic as well as family issues.
In some cases, genetics aren’t the primary cause. Research is looking into potential environmental causes such as drug abuse by parents, smoking, hypoxia in-utero, pregnancy or birth complications, and others.
Genetics are believed to be a factor in three out of every four cases. But often, we rely too much on genetics rather looking at the environment.
It has been studied that Foster Children often have a higher number of symptoms related to ADHD. Children who have been emotionally or physically abused may develop ADHD like symptoms. Children involved in or around severe violence may also develop symptoms.
A large issue that is being studied is the diet of a child with ADHD. Giving excess sodium, sugar, sodas, and other foods may make ADHD worse or contribute to the condition.
Children with ADHD often are friends with other children with ADHD. Between the two friends, it may be difficult for other children to listen, learn, and be calm.
Teacher and parents may not know what to do in certain situations where ADHD symptoms might be more present or noticeable. Often large consequences, learning disabilities, loneliness, and overall trouble follow those with ADHD.
School years and developmental years can be very difficult for children having ADHD. They often feel mistrusted and misunderstood. This could develop into relationship strains between teachers, siblings, parents and more.
Diagnosis of ADHD
Typically this is done through a medical/psychiatric assessment. The goal is to rule out another cause, something potentially less or more concerning.
Diagnosis is made dependent on symptoms according to the DSM-IV and the duration of symptoms.
Symptoms mentioned previously often are seen in every child at different times in their lives. They may be so excited about something that many of them will have symptoms in the Hyperactive category. But those symptoms may only last a few minutes to a few hours.
Assumptions about a diagnosis for a child can cause a large amount of headache and heartache if you or another is wrong or right. Allow a health care professional make the decision
Treatment or Management
Management is a treatment method that offers an open discussion about the symptoms and expectations. A strategy is set forth to offer a range of options and possibilities that medication alone may not help.
There is a very good chance that this form of management will be beneficial for most children. It is typically for those who have mild symptoms and/or for children who are first diagnosed at a young age.
This area of management includes:
– Behavior Therapy
– Psycho-Social Education
– Cognitive Therapy
– Interpersonal therapy
– Family therapy
– School based education and social skills training
– Parent training
Medication treatment is a necessary part of the overall treatment and management of ADHD. There are a number of medications that can work to stimulate a child. This will give them more energy in some cases. Other medications may be used and are considered non-stimulant medications.
Medications are not recommended for preschool children. This should be kept in mind that an age to start medication is important.
Risks of ADHD are plain and alarming. Children with ADHD are less likely to finish high school and are more likely to begin substance abuse. Often the reason is that they feel misunderstood and aren’t capable of sitting for long periods of time.
This of course can be managed through medications and behavior changes. But to expect a fifteen year old who hasn’t worked for years on behavior changes, is difficult to do. Children must know of their limitations and work to improve them. This takes time and careful monitoring.
If you have a child that you suspect may have ADHD, seek medical and mental health treatment. There is a good chance that they can succeed. They just may need a little more attention and help than they are getting.