Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ADHD: What exactly is it?

The following is a guest post:

Everyone has heard the term, whether it was on a TV commercial, in a magazine headline or the topic of a local news health update. Some people might even use the term to describe themselves in moments of frustration of not remembering a phone number or being unable to concentrate on a friend’s meandering story telling.

But just because someone might have occasional moments of forgetfulness or inattention, doesn’t mean he or she is clinically ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (commonly known as ADHD) has an early onset, typically appearing in childhood or adolescence. It is estimated that anywhere from 5% to 10% of children are affected by the disorder, some suffering into adulthood. It is marked by three main categories of symptoms.

Let’s start from the beginning: the ‘A’ in ADHD stands for attention. Inattention is marked by a lack of focus, whether it is in a school setting or recreational setting. A child will have very little interest in anything that requires sitting still or paying close attention. This can be marked by carelessness and daydreaming. Forgetfulness is key here also. Losing or forgetting toys and belongings can be a sign of ADHD. ‘H’ stands for hyperactivity: fidgety, restless and an inability to sit still. The third main category of symptoms is impulsivity. Impulsive symptoms are the ones that seem a bit more obvious and extreme, like shouting out in class and frequently interrupting.

ADHD is noticed in children as they begin schooling and need to sit still and pay attention. While this is a hard task for any elementary child, it is pretty impossible for a child suffering with ADHD. Healthy children can have a fidgety day or be uninterested in a teacher’s lecture. That is totally normal. What is not normal is a constant inability to focus on any task. A children who constantly keeps moving, even when sitting down could be ADHD. A child who becomes frustrated by coloring or unable to focus on one game at a time could be ADHD. But again, it can be hard to diagnose a rambunctious child from an ADHD child.

Living with ADHD can be stressful for not only the people dealing with it, but the children himself. Constant reprimanding and an inability to stay on task are discouraging. When actions start to affect your child’s well-being and quality of life, it might be a good idea to make an appointment with your pediatrician or a therapist specializing in children with ADHD. While there is no cure, no one needs to suffer from a common disorder that can be effectively be treated with professional help. Look for a doctor in your area here.

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