1. What is ADHD/ADD?

ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition with symptoms such as inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. A child suffering from ADHD will exhibit persistent symptoms of hyperactivity and will have a very poor attention span, and these symptoms will become evident from very early on in childhood. Additionally, children with this disorder are likely to exhibit unusually impulsive behaviour patterns.

A child with undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will find themselves permanently in trouble, both at home and at school. A lack of attention to school work and an inability to listen or complete tasks can frequently lead to detentions and other punishments, and will create a negative pattern of behaviour between the child, their teacher and their classmates. Additionally, because a child with a hyperactivity or attention deficit finds it hard to relate to others and socialise in a normal manner, they will rapidly find themselves socially isolated and ostracised from their peer groups.

2. Are all children with ADHD hyper-active?

While hyperactivity is the most common symptom of ADHD, it is possible for a child to be suffering from the disorder without being hyperactive.

 

  • A predominantly inattentive subtype:Signs include becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds; failing to pay attention to details and making careless mistakes; rarely following instructions carefully and completely; losing or forgetting things like toys, pencils, books, and tools needed for a task.
  • A predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype:Signs include feeling restless, fidgeting and squirming; running, climbing, leaving a seat in situations where sitting or quiet behaviour is expected; blurting out answers before hearing the entire question; and having difficulty waiting in line or for a turn.
  • A combined subtype, which is the most common of the three.
3. What causes ADHD?

There are multiple genetic and environmental risk factors with small individual effect that act in concert to create a spectrum of neurobiological liability. Structural imaging studies show that brains of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are significantly smaller than unaffected controls.

4. Are there gender differences in ADHD?

The stereotype of someone with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a hyperactive little boy. Girls with ADHD aren’t usually hyperactive. Instead, they tend to have the attention-deficit part of the disorder. Girls with untreated ADHD are at risk for low self-esteem, underachievement and problems like depression and anxiety.

  • Greater likelihood of internalizing problems
  • Have more difficulties with friendships
  • May have increased feeling of self-doubt
  • Societal expectations of girls may result in less tolerance from adults
5. What are the Signs and symptoms?

An ADHD child may show any combination (but not necessarily all) of the following behaviours:

  1. Self-focused behaviour: A common sign of ADHD is what looks like an inability to recognize other people’s needs and desires. This can lead to the next two signs.
  2. Interrupting: Self-focused behaviour may cause a child with ADHD to interrupt others while they’re talking or butt into conversations or games they’re not part of.
  3. Trouble waiting their turn: Kids with ADHD may have trouble waiting their turn during classroom activities or when playing games with other children.
  4. Emotional turmoil: A child with ADHD may have trouble keeping their emotions in check. They may have outbursts of anger at inappropriate times. Younger children may have temper tantrums.
  5. Fidgetiness: Children with ADHD often can’t sit still. They may try to get up and run around, fidget, or squirm in their chair when forced to sit.
  6. Problems playing quietly: Fidgetiness can make it difficult for kids with ADHD to play quietly or engage calmly in leisure activities.
  7. Unfinished tasks: A child with ADHD may show interest in lots of different things, but they may have problems finishing them. For example, they may start projects, chores, or homework, but move on to the next thing that catches their interest before finishing.
  8. Lack of focus: A child with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, even when someone is speaking directly to them. They’ll say they heard you, but they won’t be able to repeat back to you what you just said.
  9. Avoidance of tasks needing extended mental effort: This same lack of focus can cause a child to avoid activities that require a sustained mental effort, such as paying attention in class or doing homework.
  10. Mistakes: Children with ADHD can have trouble following instructions that require planning or executing a plan. This can then lead to careless mistakes, but it doesn’t indicate laziness or a lack of intelligence.
  11. Daydreaming: Children with ADHD aren’t always rambunctious and loud. Another sign of ADHD is being quieter and less involved than other kids. A child with ADHD may stare into space, daydream, and ignore what’s going on around them.
  12. Trouble getting organized: A child with ADHD may have trouble keeping track of tasks and activities. This may cause problems at school, as they can find it hard to prioritize homework, school projects, and other assignments.
  13. Forgetfulness: Kids with ADHD may be forgetful in daily activities. They may forget to do chores or their homework. They may also lose things often, such as toys.
  14. Symptoms in multiple settings: A child with ADHD will show symptoms of the condition in more than one setting. For instance, they may show lack of focus both in school and at home.
6. Can ADHD be treated?

Treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can help relieve the symptoms and make the condition much less of a problem in day-to-day life. ADHD can be treated using medication or cognitive-behavioural interventions and clinical behaviour therapy, but a combination of both is often best.

7. Are Epilepsy and ADHD related?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has a prevalence rate of 7%–9% in the general population of children. However, in children with epilepsy, ADHD has been found to be present in 20%–50% of patients.

8. Do people outgrow ADHD?

It is a myth that children can outgrow ADHD. If left untreated, ADHD continues into adulthood. However, by developing their strengths, structuring their environments, and using medication when needed, children with ADHD can grow up to be adults leading very productive lives.

9. How can I know if my child has ADHD or if he is simply exhibiting bad behaviour?

As a general guide, the symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity must have persisted for at least six months and they must be affecting the child’s educational and social development. The symptoms must have appeared early in life and become noticeable before the child reached the age of seven, and they must be excessive and occurring far more frequently than would be expected from other children of a similar age.

Unlike bad behaviour or an emotional reaction to difficult circumstances in a home or school environment, ADHD will present itself as a consistent pattern of unacceptable behaviour that is demonstrated across all social settings, and over a long period of time. If a child is as ‘good as gold’ at school but badly behaved at home, it is unlikely that they have any form of attention deficit disorder.

10. What other problems co-exist with ADHD?

Often children with ADHD have additional diagnoses, like learning disabilities, depression or oppositional defiant disorder.  While studies vary on their findings, there are some general trends. Girls tend to have more internalizing disorders, like depression, eating disorders, and anxiety.