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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

  • What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

    Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that affects the behaviour or development of young children. Children suffering from ADHD show signs of inattention, overactivity or impulsiveness. Many children with ADHD can’t explain why they might feel out of control sometimes or very lonely.

    The normal attention span of children usually develops in three stages. They go from focussing on only one object for a very long time, to developing a wide but rapid attention span, and finally they reach the selective attention stage where they can willingly shift their focus. The last stage is crucial for the child to succeed in a classroom setting. ADHD is more common in boys than girls, and children with ADHD start to develop symptoms before they turn seven years of age.

  • The causes of ADHD include:

    • Brain infections, head trauma and lead poisoning
    • Drug use, high blood pressure and infections during pregnancy
    • Hereditary
    • Neurological (brain) imbalance affecting areas that control focussing, planning and organisation
  • There are three main signs associated with ADHD:

    • Being overactive
    • Displaying impulsive behaviour, being short tempered and prone to accidents
    • Inability to pay attention or concentrate on tasks at hands

    These symptoms therefore lead to the child facing the following challenges:

    • Academic
      1. Learning disabilities and not doing well at school
    • Cognitive
      1. Inability to understand consequences of misbehaving
      2. Talking to themselves in a childish way
    • Emotional
      1. Depression and inability to control emotions
      2. Unpredictable moods
    • Social
      1. Aggressiveness and inability to self-control
      2. Inability to follow instructions
      3. Inability to make friends
      4. Lying, stealing and taking high risks
      5. Poor social and problem-solving abilities
  • The treatment of ADHD may include any or a combination of the following:

    • Diet and nutrition changes to improve general health, which may help reduce the symptoms of ADHD
    • Educating the child and his/her family on behaviour change
    • Medication to control chemical imbalance in the brain and target brain areas responsible for focusing and self-control
    • Psychological counselling to help boost self-esteem

    It is important to note that education and psychological treatments need to be used together with medication to ensure the best outcome.

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