What is ADHD?

ADHD, or the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is ranked among the most common childhood brain disorders. While it usually starts at a young age, it continues through adolescence and adulthood. Though all individuals may encounter occasional difficulty in staying focused, the disorder’s symptoms are so persistent and pervasive that these can interfere with the individual’s academic, social and family life.

What Causes ADHD

What exactly causes ADHD is still unknown though many factors are likely to play a role in each of the ADHD case.

Genes

Children suffering from ADHD were four times more likely to have a relative suffering from the same disorder. Studies currently carried out are focusing on the role played by different genes in the development of the disorder, particularly the one associated with the brain chemical dopamine. Individuals suffering from ADHD apparently have lower level levels of dopamine.

Nutrition and Food

Though certain foods like sugar and food additives are known to have a clear impact on behavior, there is no proof that sugar may be a primary cause of the ADHD. Removing sugar from the child’s diet is also unlikely to have a significant impact on the child’s behavior. However, studies have pointed out a link between ADHD symptoms and the deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are known to play an important role in the development of the brain development and its function and studies. Therefore, the deficiency may lead to developmental disorders including ADHD.

Environment

There may be a link between =maternal smoking and ADHD. However, women suffering from ADHD are more likely to smoke themselves. Therefore, the possibility of genes cannot be ruled out. Moreover, nicotine also leads to the lack of oxygen in the mother’s uterus. Exposure to lead is also thought to lead to ADHD. While paints no longer have lead in them, preschool children living in older buildings may be at the risk of exposure.

Brain Injury

Brain injuries sustained before or after birth may lead to ADHD. Experts suggest that head injuries can cause symptoms similar to those of ADHD in individuals due to the frontal lobe damage.

Subtypes of ADHD and their Symptoms

Children who are suffering from ADHD demonstrate persistent impulsiveness, restlessness and inattention. Moreover, they may demonstrate this behavior in their school, home and social life. However, symptoms will differ according to the subtype of this disease. Here is a look at the symptoms of all three types.

Inattention Subtype
  • Having trouble paying attention and concentrating
  • Failing to follow instructions and making careless mistakes
  • Experiencing trouble in organizing activities especially since they are easily distracted
  • Forgetting aspects of daily activities and losing essential items such as toys and school bags
  • Talking excessively
  • Experiencing trouble in waiting for their turn in conversations, games and queues
  • Fidgeting a lot
  • Interrupting others
  • Having difficulty in playing quietly
  • Running around in inappropriate situations

Hyperactivity Subtype

Combined Subtype

Children with this subtype demonstrate the features of both the hyperactivity and inattention subtypes.

ADHD in Adults

ADHD is usually associated with children, but as many as 30%-70% of children may carry this disorder in their adulthood as well. It was not until the late 1970 that this was discovered. However, using the standardized Utah Criteria as well as newer tools like Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale and Conners Rating Scale, adults with this issue can be diagnosed. ADHD diagnosis can be a relief for adults since they may believe themselves to be dumb due to their inability to tackle the challenges they face.

ADHD is a disorder which may live beyond a child’s tender years and seriously interfere with their academic, professional, personal and social life. It is also a lifelong challenge that cannot be cured. Therefore, at the first sign of learning difficulty or symptoms of ADHD, parents should seek professional help immediately.