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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that affects the behaviour or development of young children. Children suffering from ADHD show signs of inattention, overactivity or impulsiveness. Many children with ADHD cannot explain why they might feel lonely or out of control.

    The normal attention span of children usually develops in 3 stages. They begin from fixating on only one object for a long time to developing a wide and quick attention span, and finally they reach the selective attention stage where they are able to voluntarily shift their focus. The last stage is important for the child to work in a classroom setting. ADHD is more common in boys than girls. Children with ADHD start to develop symptoms before they turn 7 years old.

  • The causes of ADHD include:

    • Brain infections, head injury and lead poisoning
    • Drug use, high blood pressure and infections during pregnancy
    • Hereditary
    • Neurological (brain) imbalance affecting areas that control focusing, planning and organisation
  • There are 3 main signs associated with ADHD:

    • Being overactive
    • Displaying impulsive behaviour, eg. being short tempered and prone to accidents
    • Inability to pay attention or concentrate on tasks

     

    These symptoms can cause the child to face the following challenges:

    • Academic
      1. Learning disabilities and not performing well in school
    • Cognitive
      1. Inability to understand the consequences of misbehaving
      2. Talking to themselves in a childish way (for their age)
    • Emotional
      1. Depression and inability to control emotions
      2. Unpredictable mood
    • Social
      1. Aggressiveness and lack of self-control
      2. Inability to follow instructions
      3. Inability to make friends
      4. Lying, stealing and taking high risks
      5. Poor social and problem-solving abilities
  • Treatment of ADHD may include any or a combination of the following:

    • Dietary changes to improve nutrition and general health, which may help reduce the symptoms of ADHD
    • Educating the child and their family on behaviour change
    • Medication to control chemical imbalance in the brain and target brain areas responsible for focusing and self-control
    • Psychological counselling to help boost self-esteem

    It is important to note that education and psychological treatments should be used alongside medication to ensure the best outcome.

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