So, exactly what is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? This medical problem goes by several names such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and others. They all mean the same thing. The condition is chronic and it can stay with a person into adulthood even though it is characteristically thought of as a childhood problem. It affects millions of children every year. The things to watch out for in your child are difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. However, those are just the more common observations. Low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and poor performance in school can also be indicators of an ADHD condition. You do not cure ADHD. The best treatment is to teach the afflicted child life strategies that minimize the effects. Symptoms can present as early as 2 or 3 years of age.
What are the symptoms?
We mentioned a few in the introductory paragraph but let us be more specific here.
- Difficulty paying attention
- Frequently daydreaming
- Difficulty following instructions and seemingly not listening
- Cannot seem to organize tasks or activities
- Frequently forgetful and misplaces or loses things
- Rarely finishes anything like homework or chores around the house
- Easily distracted and drawn off task
- Cannot sit still to save his life
- The one you always have to chastise to remain quiet.
- Seems to be rude through incessant interrupting
- Always in a hurry in games and such and can wait for his/her turn
The statistics say that boys are more often afflicted than girls and the nature of the symptoms changes between genders. Boys seem to be hyperactive more often than not while girls favor being shy and inattentive.
We all know that all children and adolescents may present these symptoms on occasion. That does make it a bit more difficult to find the truly affected child. However, attention to detail and good observation skills will single out the ADHD child as the consistency of their actions will be self-evident.
When Should I Engage Medical Help?
The best place to start is with your general practitioner or pediatrician. You can find a good list in your area here. Make of a note of your observations and talk to the doctor. Invite him to informally observe and evaluate your child, His opinion can be revealing. However, that is about as far as you want to go at that level. If the concerns are shared with you and your family doctor or pediatrician, seek the diagnosis of a specialist in ADHD. Your family doctor should be able to recommend a reputable one.
There are medications that can help if the symptoms are severe. However, over medicating the child will solve nothing and just mask the problem. It is more important to teach the strategies and skills to the child to achieve self-control as the symptoms subside, as he/she gets older.