Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Children’s Health

Attention  Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental disorder of brain cells that usually occurs in children. It is normal for kids to be hyperactive at times but some can be a little extra.

Imagine getting new toys for your child and in less a minute you find out that those toys have been destroyed by him. Painful right? or maybe your child and other kids at school are playing and he unintentionally pushes his classmate from the stairs down to the ground.

This can be really disturbing for some parents but understanding that your child is neither demonic or possessed by some evil spirit but may just have ADHD can be a relief.

Some Pointers to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Children with ADHD are usually energetic, hyperactive, overly excited when playing or carrying out any activity, because of this they cause unintended harm to their friends or classmates.

They are good at throwing tantrums but this may be due to an outburst of impulse or due to frustration or boredom. They are also easily distracted,  disorganized and may have difficulty sitting in a place.

It is important to take note of a child’s behavioral pattern in order to ascertain if they have ADHD or not.

Symptoms of ADHD include:

– Not being organized

– Inability to pay attention in class

– Difficulty listening and following directions

– Always misplacing items

– Nonstop fidgeting

– Talking too much

– Forgetting daily assignments or chores

– Blurting out answers in class

– Interrupting conversations

Diagnosis of ADHD

This is done by a specialist just like other brain/mental conditions. Always keep in mind that a child doesn’t need to exhibit all the symptoms before a diagnosis is made.

There is no specific test that can be done to diagnose this condition. A diagnosis is made after medical examination and a psychological evaluation for up to 6 months in some cases.

This is to rule out other conditions so that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not confused with depression or learning disabilities. The Doctor may request for the child’s personal and family medical history.

In addition, his teachers, nannies and other people the child has frequent contact with are interviewed in order to help with the diagnosis.

Treatment

Drug Therapy

A number of drugs including stimulants can be used to manage this disorder, this is in order to balance the chemicals in the brain.

Stimulants are used with caution because they are fast acting and most children who have heart-related conditions may die from taking the wrong dose. Certain tests are done to ensure that the child gets the right dose.

Certain other drugs are available for the management of ADHD

Other measures include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Social skills therapy

There is no known cause for ADHD but it is believed that genetics and environmental influences have a role to play.

If we discover that a child exhibits any of the symptoms of ADHD it is best to see a specialist (child psychologist or psychiatrist)as early as possible.

If it is left untreated it could lead to low self esteem,  depression, antisocial behavior and even suicide!

Associate Pharmacist Anyanwu Innocentia

University of Port Harcourt