Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a reasonably popular disease in adolescence. Statistics show that in the United States it affects 10.8% of children, but that figure amounts to between 5 and 20% in the rest of the planet. Essentially, it is a neurobiological disease that produces symptoms such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and complications in concentrating, the consequences of which are indicated in children’s behavior.
What are the causes of ADHD in children?
ADHD doesn’t have a particular cause. It is a multi-causal disease, which indicates that it is defined by both hereditary and genetic factors as well as environmental entireties. Neurochemical changes during the intrauterine period linked with the consumption of toxic things and smoking in the mother are recognized to enhance the possibilities of promoting ADHD in children. Furthermore, research carried out at the CPB Mental Health Center in Barcelona discovered that food rich in omega 6 and low in omega 3 during pregnancy doubles the risk of experiencing the disease in children.
In particular, diet also serves as a risk factor in children themselves. A study carried out by specialists from the Orebro University and exposed that a toxic diet with control of sugars and fats can enhance the hazard of suffering from mindfulness and attention problems and, to a lesser degree, lead to other diseases such as impulsivity and hyperactivity that define to ADHD. In the same way, it is understood that poor educational guidelines or stringent or stressful household environment can trigger or emphasize the signs of the disorder at an early period of life.
Despite this, genetics performs a crucial role. Did you understand that children whose parents have ADHD have a 57% greater risk of acquiring the disorder? This number turns into a 20 times greater chance of undergoing ADHD in childhood, a risk that develops considerably between first-degree biological kin. This indicates that children are more likely to develop ADHD meanwhile one of their parents or relatives has had the disorder.
And it is also observed in the opposing direction as the evidence that children have ADHD jumps by 25% the possibilities that one of their parents has the disorder and 15% that their siblings acquire it. In fact, research carried at the National Autonomous University of Mexico showed that the chance of suffering from ADHD in twins can stand between 50% and 80%.
Like inheritance, genes play an essential part in the growth of the disorder. Hereditary analyzes point to an exchange of the GMR5 gene, associated with glutamate receptors. According to statistics, about 10% of children with ADHD have a shift in the number of copies of this gene. But, it is not the alone gene associated with the disorder.
Research conducted out by experts from the Research Institute and the Department of Psychiatry of the Valle de Hebron University Hospital discovered a new hereditary variant linked to the onset of the disorder in childhood and its consequent stability into adulthood. This is the LPHN3 gene, also recognized as Latrophyllin 3, which seems to enhance the awareness of children of ADHD.
In turn, it has been noted that some modifications in the maturation of the fiber packets of the white matter and the density of the gray matter in the brain can change the form of the disorder. This was approved by a research carried out at the University of California in which it was also determined that fundamental changes due to inadequate maturation in the central and superior temporal gyrus, as well as in the front-basal parts of the frontal lobe, are linked with a greater chance of developing ADHD.
What are the most common symptoms of ADHD in children?
Recognizing children with ADHD is normally not difficult as their weakness to stay calm and their restless response gives them away. They are normal children who respond quickly, who find it hard to wait their turn and stay centered on the same pursuit for long periods of time. In most instances, these symptoms begin to be notified before school starts and they reveal themselves when watching TV, playing with friends, or sitting down to consume at the table. Among the most obvious symptoms are:
Intense motor arousal
Hyperactivity is normally the most obvious symptom of ADHD, frequently responsible for obstacles in the social circle. It is a very powerful feeling of anxiety that stops children from staying calm and concentrated on an activity. Therefore, they talk excessively, move their hands and feet too much, and jump, run, and move continually, even if it is unsuitable. Many children with ADHD cannot even play unobtrusively as they do not have much tolerance and, in most cases, it is hard for them to stay calm in one place.
Distraction is another of the most common symptoms of children with ADHD, being the foremost problem that drives to school failure in most cases. In fact, it is normal for children with ADHD to have problems processing information and following commands when spoken to, as well as difficulty focusing on a task, particularly if they don’t love it. They also frequently cope to organize their daily responsibilities and activities as they are clearly confused by any external motive.
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The unpredictable performance of children with ADHD is another of the symptoms that define them. Usually, they rush to answer even before the questions are asked, make bold decisions without much thought, and have difficulty waiting their turn, whether in a game, class or inline. Moreover, they manage to interrupt the actions of others, which normally leads to conflicts with their rivals and, it is familiar that when the rest do not do what they want they are aggressive and furious.
The main types of ADHD in children
Most maximum children with ADHD exhibit very similar symptoms, although their energy and the way they show may differ from case to case. In addition to the educational and emotional particularities of each child, this is because there are different kinds of ADHD. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V, these are the usual exceptions of ADHD:
ADHD with a predominance of attention deficit
This kind of ADHD is defined by a marked attention deficit. Essentially, children with it have numerous problems focusing on tasks that need a lot of time and commitment as they are quickly distracted. It is normal for them to have trouble organizing in their everyday lives, while it is hard for them to follow an order to the letter because they lose attention immediately. They usually get low grades and may experience school failure for this purpose.
ADHD with a predominance of impulsivity and hyperactivity
This modification of ADHD is characterized by two major symptoms: extreme hyperactive and impulsivity behaviors. Children with this kind of ADHD manage to have a lot of strength, which puts them in perpetual motion and stops them from focusing on an activity. For this purpose, it is usual for them not to obey the commands and it is hard for them to follow directions because they are incapable to pay attention. In some circumstances, authoritarian and challenging behaviors are usually present.
ADHD combined type
In this kind of ADHD, children normally expose all the main symptoms of the disorder: they have a very anxious behavior, they have difficulty focusing on activity and they show symptoms of impulsivity. These are the normal children who cannot be calm for a moment and who frequently get into fights due to their regular hyperactivity. In some cases, the behavior of rebellious and challenging behaviors is also normal.
How is ADHD diagnosed in children?
The diagnosis of ADHD in children is the liability of the psychologist, although it can also be performed by a child psychiatrist or a neuro pediatrician with a practice in this area. After an exhaustive psychological evaluation, the judgment is made based on the DSM-V criteria, also getting into account the psycho-pedagogical opinions that are presented and the discussions with the parents. In some cases, neuropsychological evaluation and standardized evaluation scales can present data of concern. But, the last word is the sittings with the children, which will be the ones that give sufficient information on whether the symptoms are due to ADHD or a different disease.
When establishing the diagnosis, it is necessary to define in each case the kind of ADHD and the severity of the symptoms. It is a major step to recognize the accurate requirements and perform the treatment guidelines that adequately respond to each case. Although it is worth noting that the investigation of ADHD is not static but dimensional, that is, it can change as children mature and as the social conditions that encompass them develop.
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Is ADHD Cured? Effective Treatments for Childhood ADHD
ADHD has no restorative. Its treatment is pointed at relieving symptoms and stopping short and long-term results in child development. The choice normally changes taking into account the hardness of the disorder and the time of development, as well as the psychosocial circumstances of the children and their maturational level. Despite this, most specialists manage to opt for a multidisciplinary approach that includes psychological treatment merged with the aid of some prescriptions and changes in lifestyle.
Psychological therapy in children with ADHD is directed at allowing a balance between the emotional, behavioral, and social characters that are at the root of the disorder, as well as to give the little one’s tools so that they are capable to improve their behavior. The strategy includes a set of methods, particularly behavioral ones, that try to motivate children to control their own behavior and build well-structured models to control their hyperactivity and impulsivity. Cognitive treatment is also seldom used to treat children to attain self-control and develop their attention measure, as well as social abilities education to motivate them to solve dilemmas assertively. Relaxation methods are usually key for children to achieve self-control and develop their concentration.
The effectiveness of medications is normally quite popular in the most difficult cases of ADHD or in which psychological treatment does not work on its own. In fact, it is recognized that about 70% to 80% of children with ADHD who use medications respond positively to therapy. In these cases, it is normal to resort to both drug and non-stimulant drugs of the central nervous system that, although they normally have unconventional mechanisms of action, produce alike outcomes that decrease hyperactivity, impulsivity, and improve concentration ability. The prescriptions of choice are normally methylphenidate and atomoxetine. Although others such as guanfacine, clonidine, and extended-release amphetamine are also practiced. In some circumstances, antidepressants are also practiced.
Socio-educational treatment develops another of the key pillars of specialized care for children with ADHD. In this knowledge, experts suggest that parents set the limits well at home and establish clear precepts, as well as design in a specific way the everyday actions of children. It is also recommended to spur the practice of sports or to speculate on physical exercises in nature to encourage them to release excess energy, as researchers discovered conducted at the University of Vermont and Michigan. Moreover, it is recognized that there is a solid connection between ADHD and diet, so it is suggested to trust a diet reduced in sugars, fats, and additives and loaded in minerals, vitamins, and vital fatty acids to decrease impulsivity and hyperactive symptoms in children.