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ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a medical condition; a neurodevelopment disorder most commonly seen and diagnosed throughout the person’s childhood and frequently; sometimes lasts onto their adulthood. A person with ADHD has differences in most people’s brain development; and brain activity that is responsible for attention, the ability to stay still, and the ability for self-control. Since it is seen frequently in children and in their childhood,  children with ADHD affect their behavior in classrooms, at home, and in forming friendships with other children in the crucial years of their lives. The good news is that awareness is one step into treating it. If you suspect your child has ADHD; getting proper and truthful knowledge will be helpful; and that is what we will provide. 

An average of 8.4% of children in today’s population and 2.5% of adults have ADHD. Generally, boys are more likely to have ADHD than girls. It is often recognized in school, wherein children; and their ADHD interferes with what should be the normal behavior in a classroom setting, because often they cause disruption to the classroom; and how they do their schoolwork, and more importantly; how they form friendships. 

While ADHD cannot be prevented or cured totally, knowing; and acknowledging it as soon as possible, researching about the essential information, having a great treatment; and educational plan; should alleviate and mitigate the symptoms of a person with ADHD; helping them live their lives without the constant interfering of their disorder. These will help them manage their symptoms, living much greater and burden-free lives. 

What are Symptoms of ADHD and its Diagnosis?

Prominent ADHD symptoms such as High activity levels; difficulty remaining still for a long time, and limited attention spans are generally normal for children, these are common; but the problem with having ADHD is that these, their hyperactivity and being inattentive are much intense, noticeably greater compared to what should be expected around their age, and their peers that results to them having distress, discomfort, and problems. 

ADHD is diagnosed in one of the three different types namely: Inattentive type; Hyperactive and or Impulsive type, or combined type. A diagnosis then is made based on the symptoms that have been seen over the past six months. 

Inattentive Type Symptoms

  • Having difficulty in paying close attention to details and or making careless mistakes frequently in school, or just simple activities
  • Having trouble focusing on the task on hand or activities; instances are seen on them having lectures, conversations, and long periods of writing and reading
  • Seems to be distracted and not listening when you are talking directly to them
  • They find it hard to follow on the instructions; falling off short and not finishing schoolwork, chores or any other activities you asked them to do
  • Having trouble in organizing their tasks; such as they do not manage their time well, they are messy, disoriented, misses deadlines
  • Do not like tasks that requires sustained effort mentally, being intimidated by preparing reports, completing forms 
  • Forgetful, they easily forget daily tasks such as doing homework, chores, errands. In adults, this can manifest as forgetting returning phone calls, keeping appointments and paying bills on time
  • Easily distracted 
  • Having trouble keeping their things, such as they often misplaced or lose their personal belongings

Hyperactivity and or Impulsive Type

  • Likes fidgeting, or tapping their hands or feet, or squirming in their seats 
  • Running or climbing on where it is inappropriate to do so
  • Having trouble staying quiet, or simply start in doing their leisure activities
  • They often talks frequently, too much
  • Having trouble staying seated for long periods of time
  • Often interrupts or intrudes other people; such as cutting short into conversations, activities; or it can also manifest as using others belonging without their permission. Older teens and adults do this by taking over someone’s task.
  • Giving answer to a question before it is even finished, cannot wait to have their turn on conversations
  • Having difficulty in waiting for his or her turn. For instance, they are impatient in waiting in line. 
  • They are always “on the go” 

There is no particular lab test that will show if a person has ADHD or not. The diagnosis involves gathering information from the parents, teachers, caregivers; and other significant people to the person’s life, filling out particular checklists and conducting a medical evaluation; testing their vision and hearing condition to make sure of other medical problems that they might be overlooking. 

What Causes ADHD? 

The exact and accurate cause of ADHD has not been discovered up to this day and age. Scientists Have not yet been able to identify its specific causes; however as they navigate researches to this particular condition; they have found some evidence and combination of factors that might be responsible for its occurrence. 

Genetics

ADHD is likely to run in families. Researchers suggest that genes inherited from parents can contribute to developing this condition. As added by the researchers, parents and siblings of an ADHD child have a large possibility to have ADHD themselves. However, this suggestion is more complex to rule out and genetics is not all there is to be responsible. 

Brain 

The research circulating brain function and structure of those with ADHD; and without ADHD has yet to be ruled out accurately, it is not yet clear. 

However, some studies do find that people with ADHD; and certain areas of their brains are to be found smaller, whereas some are to be found larger; compared to normal individuals. Moreover; studies also suggest that individuals with ADHD are experiencing an imbalance in the level of their brain’s neurotransmitters that it’s likely that they are not working properly. 

Groups that are at risk

There are found to be certain groups of people that are more likely to have ADHD than others. Those that were born prematurely, or with low weight after birth. Those that are diagnosed with epilepsy; those who have brain damage, which can possibly occur when they are still inside their mother’s womb or after experiencing a severe head injury in the succeeding years after birth. Lastly, if their mothers are smoking, drinking alcohol, or under extreme stress during the pregnancy. 

Treatments for ADHD

Medication and Behavioral Therapy can help improve the management of symptoms of ADHD. Researchers together with studies have shown how the combination of these two work is incredibly helpful with children; and adults suffering from ADHD, certainly with those moderate up to severe ADHD. 

Medication

There are two types of medication for dealing with ADHD, they are stimulants and non-stimulants. 

Stimulant medications are known for being highly effective treatments that have been long used for decades. Methylphenidate and amphetamines are the two most common stimulant medications and children taking these drugs must be cautiously monitored by their physician and their parents. Atomoxetine and guanfacine, non-stimulant medication are alternatives to the said stimulants and are used if children with ADHD happen to not respond well with the stimulant medications. There are great alternatives and they work effectively as well on treating and management of ADHD symptoms. 

Most children happen to experience dramatic relief and ease with their condition because of taking these medications, and the relief and ease continue with ongoing treatment and effective handling. Whilst other children may experience only partial relief, or in some cases, the medication seems to not work at all, a change in the medication and an increase in dosage would work, improving its response. 

Therapy

Behavioral Therapy centers on the management of symptoms of ADHD. The treatment consists of teaching parents, teachers, and caregivers how to give positive feedback for the behaviors they desire to see and urge them to provide consequences for the behaviors they do not like seeing. This requires careful coordination and proper orientation, but ought to provide children with learning on how they can control their behavior and execute good and rational choices.

How should your parenting look like dealing with a child with ADHD? 

Parenting is just as important with all the medication and therapy for children with ADHD. Parents should be the top support system for their children and should hold a great amount of perseverance, patience, and understanding, together with love, care, and empathy. Remember that we parents have the power to make our child worse, or better, this is not to warn you carelessly, but rather motivate you to take action in making your child’s life as normal and as happy as possible. 

You should be involve

Reading all the necessary information as to what you have been doing right now and finding out more and more about ADHD will give you awareness as to how you should navigate parenting with it. Follow the medical treatment your child needs to undergo. Attend the therapy he/she needs to go to. If the medicine needs to be taken at a specific time, follow through it. Do not change the dose, unless the physician told you so. Pay attention to his or her progress. 

Show up every day for your child, and focus on the small progress day by day

ADHD would not disappear overnight, so we as parents should not stress out to make everything work at all times and as soon as possible. We should aim for small changes, goals, and achievements, and after a while, those small achievements and changes will be incremental success. Patience is the key.  

Discipline, in a lovely and caring way

Your child is special, and he/she requires a new standard of care. There will be a time when he/she may seem a burden or stress in you, but know that if he/she has a choice, he/she would not do it. Learn about the discipline approaches that work best on children with ADHD and dump those that make it worse. Talk to your child’s therapist about that and ask questions as to how you can be better. Children are sensitive to criticism, so make sure you are not dismissing them, correct them and try to provide encouragement in doing so, punishment is off the table. 

Be clear with what you want

Focus on what behaviors you want your child to do, rather than reacting badly on behaviors he/she is not doing. 

Talk to your child, be present for him/her

Talking about how ADHD is affecting him/her will give you an opportunity to support him/her or be better next time. Acknowledge what he/she is feeling and provide comfort, warmth, love, and utmost care. Always tell them how it is not their fault they are the way they are, and as long as they are making efforts into battling it graciously, then they should not worry.

Make efforts into building your relationship with your child, it matters. 

Children with ADHD often feel negative about themselves. They might think they are letting others down, they are not making any progress, they cause nothing but pain, constantly doing things wrong, or doing less than they should. If they have you, they will be assured as to their progress, you have the power to reassure them that what they are doing is great, they are enough and they are special, capable, and valuable. This can help with their self-esteem; self-worth and can help build discipline within them, as well as resilience and self-awareness. Moreover, they can bring you closer together as a family, making you two more open with each other. 

Maintain routines, schedules, clear instruction, clear expectations at all times

Children with ADHD benefit from these, so make sure you make an effort to incorporate these four to avoid confusion, misunderstanding, and stress. In addition, it will save you time.

Model good behaviors

Our children tend to copy us, make sure your behaviors are not harming them because they might be copied, and or they might get discouraged or pressured in their progress. Focus on giving caring criticisms and acknowledging their small wins. 

Lifestyle changes to incorporate with Child/ Adult that have ADHD

Aside from medication, therapy, support from parents, lifestyle changes and habits can help maximize the mitigation and or management of symptoms of one’s ADHD. These lifestyles are healthy and beneficial, easy to incorporate and live, and will help one live a more normal, balanced burden-free life where they can do the things they want swiftly and attentively, focused and still.

The number one thing we should know is that stress, makes ADHD symptoms surprising high and worse, making it hard to manage that interferes further to already hard to manage a life that is why keeping your body and mind calm, reducing stressors are proven to mitigate the burden of ADHD symptoms and there are lots of proven ways to do so, they are easy to follow and not gimmicky, so let us start. 

At school 

  • Having seated on an inflated disc cushion might be helpful in increasing the child’s attention in the classroom. Researchers suggest that the disc helps in creating a physical distraction in turn helps focus. 
  • Practicing impulse control, set boundaries and enforce positive talk to encourage your child to do so
  • Decreasing clutter on the surrounding and noise
  • Using checklist to list down all the things she/he needs to accomplish 
  • Practice active learning to help in engaging more on the lesson
  • Breaking down big activities and learning activities to small steps

At home

  • Addressing family problems and tensions
  • Decreasing unnecessary noise and clutter
  • Apply routines, structures and sticking to schedule throughout the day. Research suggests that this will provide comfort and ease because they know and be aware of what is consuming their time. 
  • Getting enough and quality sleep. Incorporate sleep hygiene that is falling asleep and waking up at the same time can help alleviate good mood in the morning and jump start your day right, not to mention decrease upsetting moods and stress.
  • Eating a nice healthy, balanced diet. Hunger and poor nutrition, not only are they detrimental to our physical body but also heightened the symptoms of ADHD
  • Do not smoke
  • Having habits or doing the things that make you happy.

To successfully incorporate these lifestyle changes, it is best to have your physician involved in order for them to help in ways they can as well. If your child is having a hard time, ask his/her physician or therapy for tips or advice if he/she should continue pursuing it. This is best so that all the lifestyle changes are doing better in the overall life of a child living with ADHD, rather than them ruining it and doing more harm if she/he cannot do it or against it. At the end of the day, we approach life differently thus we have different ways to live our lives. We are just here to provide as much help as we can. 

Debunking ADHD Myths

Misinformation leads to unsolicited judgments and beliefs that are sometimes harmful and even detrimental. Myths about ADHD should be corrected in order to rule out confusion, spread awareness, and mitigate the damage that has been brought by fake news. We hope that in addressing these myths, you readers ought to consider researching and fact-checking because holding on to a false belief can harm you personally as well, so let’s start. 

Myth #1: ADHD is not a real, factual medical condition

This is a very false and bold myth to think about that might potentially discourage those who silently suffer from ADHD since it can have the notion of invalidating those who suffer from ADHD. ADHD is a REAL medical condition. It has been validated so by The National Institutes of Health, the American Psychiatric Association, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Myth #2: Only boys can have ADHD

The very fact that boys have more than twice the probability of having ADHD than girls should not support or validate the thought that girls cannot have ADHD. The information should not be a pass for overlooking or neglecting girls with regards to this matter. Girls can and might have ADHD as well. 

Myth #3: ADHD is a result of bad parenting 

ADHD will never be a result of bad parenting because this is a medical condition and this is a result of differences in one’s brain structure. It is no wonder that we assume that when a child is hyperactive or comes off as rude because he/she cannot control himself/herself, we blame it on the parents that they fail to raise their child, but in reality, neither the child nor the parents are responsible for those actions, it’s the symptoms of their medical condition, nothing more, nothing less. 

Myth #4: People with ADHD cannot, ever focus

With their successful treatment plan, they can mute the noise of inattentiveness and focus on the task on hand presented to them. If they are interested in what they are doing, they will focus on them intensely. For instance, children may have trouble paying attention to a subject that does not spark an interest in them, but if the subject is their favorite game, they will drop everything. 

Myth #5: Having ADHD is not that serious 

Yes, ADHD is not life-threatening, but the symptoms left untreated and managed can have serious implications as to the quality of their already hard life. Let’s not invalidate the suffering of those people with ADHD, because they are also more likely to have anxiety disorder and mood and substance use disorders. It is not all cannot focus and hyperactivity, it is much more than that. It’s also the thought of not doing enough, fear of criticism and judgment, and fear of losing everything, fears of failure, and many more saddening thoughts. 

Myth #6: ADHD is mere laziness

The symptoms of ADHD can be seen as a form of inconvenience. The symptoms cannot focus, often do not start or finish the tasks, having trouble staying still, not seems to have constant attention to one subject, being impatient and the like can have the notion that this is just a person who is lazy, but with ADHD, this symptoms stems from their brain, they do not invent them or they are not making excuses. This myth is why ADHD should not be left untreated because treatment plans can have a massive relief to those with ADHD, because once they are mindful of their condition, they become conscious, little by their symptoms, and can manage them, themselves. 

The Bottom Line

ADHD is real, it affects those who are diagnosed/ undiagnosed with it and it is really important for us to be aware of this condition. We hope that this comprehensive information sheds light on your understanding of this medical condition and seek help and support if you yourselves are dealing with a child who has this condition or if you are an adult who has ADHD that is not yet treated.

Let us remember that ADHD will forever be a valid condition and it really does bring distress and crisis in one’s life, but this condition does not make anyone less of a person or that their value decreases just because they have it. A successful treatment plan, consistency, support system, and perseverance can bring a lot of relief and comfort to those with ADHD, and let us make sure they acquire that, in order for them to live their lives as normal as we would like for them as possible. 

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