We all have at one time in childhood or other been culprits to skipping meals to afford us ample time to indulge our sense of frivolities. Whether it be in the middle of an interesting movie, a fast and thrilling video game or perhaps something as queer as putting finishing touches to the distorted cartoon you had doodled in some boring class earlier, with Mom persuading you to dinner with hardly any luck, which you contumaciously refused. At that moment you might as well have been exhibiting tendencies of ADHD.
Now, what’s ADHD all about? Short for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD is a chronic biobehavioural condition that manifests early in childhood. It includes as its primary symptoms a complex of factors from difficulty in sustaining attention to frequented occasions of hyperactive and impulsive behaviour. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder manifests before age 10 and occurs more frequently in male children than in females.
These patients display varying degrees of these symptoms. The manifestations of ADHD can mimic mood disorders so closely that it becomes difficult to diagnose ADHD unless these conditions are ruled out. In that light, health experts have neatly partitioned these symptoms into three distinct categories which could still coexist at the same time; as they pertain inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity and shall be discussed subsequently in this regard.
It is important to mention a caveat upfront that should any of these symptoms sound like your child, the disorder can only be more definitively diagnosed by a doctor.
Now, ADHD sufferers with problems of inattention are more common than others as they show a fairly wide spectrum of the observable traits. These persons are often prone to careless mistakes and lack attention to details. They can barely focus in class for lengthy hours, and easily lose interest in conversations even when spoken to directly.
Your child may be suffering from ADHD if they are outrightly inept at organizing tasks, following through instructions and managing time wisely. Other signs of ADHD due to inattention include forgetfulness in daily activities, tendencies to be easily distracted, sometimes in the absence of obvious distractions and a habit of losing valuable things.
The other category of symptoms of the chronic disorder is those pertaining to hyperactivity and impulsivity, which are related and hence often described together. Most ADHD sufferers displaying these conditions often fidget with or tap their hands and feet on a surface or squirm in their seats, tending to be unusually restless. In school, these children would frequently leave their seats, or be found running, often without cause or climbing structures where it is inappropriate, out of pure hyperactivity.
Such a child talks excessively and may blurt out the answer to a question even before it was fully asked. Their teachers return home each day hopelessly saturated from controlling children of this ilk in class. In other cases, these children give an impression of always being on the go, have difficulty waiting their turn in queues, and butt into conversations without permission.
Normal children could as well be inattentive, hyperactive or impulsive but a child with ADHD would frequent these behaviours at school, home and/or other social situations. It has also been discovered that children with ADHD are much more likely to suffer other related disorders, such as bipolar disorder, ophthalmic convergence insufficiency, anxiety and a host of some others, than those who do not.
In some children, ADHD may fade away before adolescence while for a sizeable percentage, it may not. While the above symptoms may be typical of ADHD patients, it is important to reiterate that not every child who exhibits any of these symptoms does necessarily have ADHD. Diagnosis of this disorder can only be confirmed by trained healthcare givers. Moreso, sufferers must not display all the features spelled out above to be so afflicted and these symptoms must have persisted for at least five or six months to a maladaptive degree comparative to the child’s level of development, however.
Although ADHD cannot be completely cured, certain drugs and alternative therapies are applied to suppress its symptoms. Regular exercise may also be beneficial. So, next time a quarrel is staged before you get your child to do the dishes and/or catch them daydreaming while on chores, dash for a taxi! It’s time you visited the doctor, but that’s a light joke.