As its name suggests, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a neurobiological disorder that manifests during childhood. Overall, it affects more than 5% of children worldwide and more than 6% of children in Spain. Moreover, it’s more common in boys than in girls.
Fortunately, studies have shown that the disorder may respond well to an early diagnosis and proper treatment. Now, let’s learn more about this disorder!
Due to this disorder’s complexity, no single cause has been identified. Essentially, it’s a heterogeneous disorder with several subtypes that results from various risk factors.
Professionals don’t know exactly what causes it. However, they’ve discovered that genetic and environmental factors have a great influence on its development. In this case, we’re talking about prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors.
Furthermore, ADHD has a heritability of 76%. This means that, on average, 76% of the factors associated with the disorder are related to genes and the rest to non-genetic factors.
Finally, it’s been shown that the relatives of people with this neurological disorder have a five times greater risk of developing it than those without a family history of this condition.
Typically, children who suffer from ADHD may have poor school and social performance.
Essentially, this disorder has three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms manifest themselves in a greater or lesser degree depending on the sub-type.
- First, in the predominantly inattentive subtype, most of the symptoms fall under inattention. Typically, it’s most common among females and greatly impacts a person academically.
- On the other hand, children with the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype may be more hyperactive and aggressive.
- The last subtype, known as combined, is the most common. It has an impact on overall performance.
Next, for the symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity to be associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, certain conditions must be met:
- First, the symptoms must manifest before the age of seven.
- In addition, the child must display them continuously for at least six months.
- Plus, the symptoms should affect your child in at least two different settings.
- Finally, these symptoms must make your child’s life significantly more difficult. Therefore, it affects their performance.
How can ADHD be Treated?
First of all, psychological therapy helps control the symptoms of this disorder and improve the child’s performance.
However, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents should be treated according to each patient’s needs. There’s still no cure for ADHD. Therefore, treatment aims to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of other associated disorders.
Typically, professionals recommend combination treatment for children and adolescents whose ADHD moderately or severely impacts their daily lives. This includes behavioral, pharmacological, and psychological treatment and psychopedagogical intervention.
1. Psychological Treatment
Overall, the psychological interventions that have yielded good results are based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Behavior therapy
- Parent training
- Cognitive therapy
- Training in social skills
2. Psycho-pedagogical Treatment
Next, psycho-pedagogical intervention is a fundamental pillar in combined treatment.
Basically, this involves a series of interventions. These range from improving the child’s academic performance to improving the school environment.
3. Pharmacological Treatment
Next, pharmacological treatment helps reduce the core symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Overall, this can lead to improved academic performance and behavior.
At the same time, it enhances the effect of psychological and psychoeducational interventions. Methylphenidate, which is a stimulant, is a popular drug that doctors prescribe to treat this disorder.
The Reality of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
This disorder can affect a child’s self-esteem.
This condition is common. However, the reality is that there’s widespread ignorance about it.
Unfortunately, very few people are well-informed about his disorder. In addition, many others mistakenly believe that ADHD is caused by a disorganized family or school environment.
Not having enough information on this disorder has direct consequences on patients and their families, friends, and the other people around them. Misinformation or lack of information leads to stigma, insensitivity, and lack of consideration for the disorder.