You hear more and more about ADHD in children, however, there is still much ignorance about this condition. As a consequence, children who suffer from it, but also their parents, face inappropriate comments and little empathy from many people who, out of ignorance, classify them as very distracted, very rebellious or very bad behaving children. Therefore, in our site we have developed a very complete guide to understand what ADHD in children is and its different treatments. But we go step by step.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition that occurs due to neurological immaturity that affects the frontal lobe. This is what regulates executive functions, that is, the ability to start, organize and complete tasks, as well as self-monitoring and self-regulation, among others.
At least two of the three aspects mentioned below are presented in this condition and are:
Inability to sustain attention for the expected time depending on age. They are easily distracted by any stimulus around them. This factor causes them to frequently lose their things, have a mess in their notebooks, forget things, present poor school performance, etc.
Children with hyperactivity move continuously without a clear purpose, they go from one place to another being able to start a task that they quickly abandon to start another and thus continue. There are many children whose hyperactivity affects their social relationships in a very important way, since they become uncomfortable for those around them and for this same reason other children or even adults can move away or show open rejection. Personally, I think this is one of the most complex problems that a child with ADHD faces.
Impulsive children have a significant inability to anticipate the consequences of their actions, they do not measure the danger, they have a hard time waiting their turn and they can become not very tolerant and even aggressive under certain situations.
Also, taking into account these three aspects, there are three classifications for ADHD:
- Predominantly distracted. Most of the symptoms are related to inattention.
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. Most of the symptoms are related to hyperactivity and impulsivity.
- Combined. It is a combination of the symptoms of inattention and the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms.
ADHD usually begins to become evident in the first years of elementary school; there are little ones who begin to show significant signs of inattention and / or hyperactivity from kindergarten, but it is not until after six years that it is advisable to seek professional support to confirm or not the diagnosis. In this sense, there are schools that put a lot of pressure on parents to do it at a very young age, my advice is at least wait for six years.
School is almost always the instance that suggests to parents that there may be a problem at this level, however sometimes it is the parents themselves who, especially when they have other children, notice that something is wrong.
Despite the fact that there are many specialists who suggest that the diagnosis of ADHD is purely clinical, that is, it will depend on the behaviors reported by parents and teachers; From my perspective, the ideal way to reach a diagnosis is the following: a psychologist can apply a series of questionnaires to parents and teachers and work with the child to determine the probability that ADHD exists or not and based on these results refer to a neurologist or psychiatrist who should confirm the definitive diagnosis.
Faced with a diagnosis of ADHD it is important that parents do not panic; usually having the answer to a series of behaviors that affect the overall performance of your child is a great first step, as long as the diagnosis is made by a professional.
Parents are usually suggested to start with a psychological treatment (cognitive behavioral therapy) for a period of six months to observe the progress, especially if:
- ADHD does not have a determining impact on the child's life.
- There is a discrepancy regarding the severity of the symptoms seen at home and at school.
- The diagnosis of ADHD is not clear.
- Parents do not agree with drug treatment.
In the event that psychological therapy alone is not achieving a favorable evolution, the best suggested treatment is multi-modal or combined that requires several approaches and several professionals involved in treatment to work simultaneously on the symptoms and the obstacles that children have to face in the different environments in which they develop. It basically consists of:
1. Psychological treatment
One of the therapies that give the best results is cognitive-behavioral, designed to provide the child with self-regulation and self-monitoring strategies so that they can lengthen their attention spans, organize and improve their behavior.
2. Pharmacological treatment
Considered one of the most effective methods to reduce the core symptoms of ADHD (inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity) in a large percentage of severe cases.
3. Psychoeducational treatment
Designed to teach parents and teachers what this condition consists of and to give them tools to support the child especially in the development of executive functions: starting a task, planning, organizing, etc. Combining adequate pharmacological treatment with a collaborative home-therapy-school work has proven to be one of the best ways to contribute to achieving a comprehensive improvement in the child.
This will always be a matter of controversy between those who defend and those who reject this type of intervention.
No parent likes to hear that their child must take medicine to help him function properly; however, if it were a drug for any other medical condition, reactions would never be more in question. It is true that sometimes these medications can cause secondary reactions or take time to give the expected results; however, today by today there are many options And although it is not an easy process and it may take time for the specialist to find the exact dose, (it is like a custom shoe) in the end the result in many cases is worth it.
The point here is that when several alternatives have already been tried without results and ADHD significantly interferes with the overall performance of a child and therefore with their quality of life, it is a perfectly valid alternative and that in many cases it achieves obvious changes and dramatically improves a child's daily life. Normally these changes not only appear at the attentional or behavioral level but also in the environment and in the social response of others towards it; This will invariably help improve your self-esteem, your confidence, and your satisfaction with life.
Today there are many intervention alternatives and support for parents and children with ADHD. If your child is in this situation, do not hesitate to seek comprehensive treatment and include school; there are many children with this condition leading a perfectly normal rhythm of life. Also, remember that it is essential to make them feel loved and accepted at all times so that they see themselves as children capable of achieving everything they set out to do.
You can read more articles similar to Very complete guide to understand what ADHD in children is and its treatment, in the category of hyperactivity and attention deficit on site.