Health - Conditions
By: - at March 19, 2013

ADD/ADHD Symptoms and Treatment

Introduction
add boyADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder; ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. When these conditions were first discovered they were referred to as minimal brain damage and later minimal brain dysfunction when more information was discovered. At present time these conditions are recognized as a chemical imbalance or deficiency in the brain. Most people with ADD/ADHD are considered average or above average intelligence and may or may not have other learning disabilities. Normally in a human brain there are chemically controlled circuits that filter out or keep in the background, all other impulses that may enter the attention center of the brain while trying to focus on one thing in particular. In a person with ADD/ADHD the chemical deficiency is present. They have difficulties because they cannot properly block these other impulses or push them in to the background. Therefore they see and hear too much and become overwhelmed by all the information going into their brains for processing. They cannot control or organize this information, become easily distracted and impulsive as they jump from one activity to another.

Symptoms and Diagnosis
boy throwing tantrumIn order to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD you must present at least 8 of these symptoms for at least 6 months.

  1. Fidgeting with hands or feet or squirming in seat
  2. Difficulty remaining seated when required to do so
  3. Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  4. Difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations
  5. Blurts out answers to questions before the question has been completed
  6. Difficultly following through with instructions
  7. Difficultly sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  8. Shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
  9. Difficultly playing or completing tasks quietly
  10. Talks excessively
  11. Interrupts or intrudes on others
  12. Does not seem to listen to what is being said to him/her
  13. Loses things necessary for tasks or activities
  14. Engages in physically dangerous activities without considering possible consequences

All of these symptoms must occur often and not necessarily always. Other possible symptoms include language or learning disabilities, chronic medical conditions and other emotional and behavioral problems.

It is important that you obtain a diagnosis from a medical professional before acting upon any symptoms. If the diagnosis is for a child parents should consult with their child’s teacher. They are in a unique position to monitor a child in a school setting seeing their interaction with other children, adults, and with authority.

Treatment
The most important part of treatment is communication and cooperation between all parties involved, whether it be parents, children, teachers, physicians, schools and/or counselors. Together all the involved parties can select an appropriate treatment program consisting of an educational plan, medication, behavior and cognitive programs, counseling, and support programs.

Medication
medicationThere are several types of prescription medications used to treat ADD/ADHD. Each medication has different properties that suit specific people and specific situations. The main type of medication used is a stimulant. This type of medication helps by altering the amount of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain that are involved in filtering out distractions and reducing activity levels. Of the stimulant medications, Ritalin and Adderall are the most commonly prescribed. The other type of medication used to treat ADD/ADHD is an antidepressant. These target the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine helping to combat the emotional feelings associated with ADD/ADHD. All people do not get the same results from the same kind of medication or the same dosage. Also medication alone is not an answer to ADD/ADHD and should be part of a total treatment program.

Behavioral Issues
It is important to note that medication will not correct behavioral problems. It will only combat the lack of focus and hyperactivity in a person. Often people diagnosed with ADD/ADHD will experience repeated failure at home, in school or at work, and in relationships. Their self-esteem is always at risk and it is important to encourage, reward and build up positive behavior and actions. Most people will require counseling to help them combat their emotional and behavioral symptoms. Patients can exhibit feelings associated with anxiety, stress and possibly depression because of their condition.

Conclusion
One in twenty children will be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Out of these children only 20% will be asymptomatic by the time they reach adolescence. 30% of children diagnosed will exhibit symptoms by the time they reach their teens, and 50% of children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD will exhibit two or more symptoms for the remainder of their adult life. Looking at these statistics it is easy to see that ADD/ADHD is a very common. It is important that the symptoms are recognized and diagnosed early so that these people have a good chance at learning to cope with their condition. When patients receive the proper medication, have an educational plan, and get counseling to combat emotional issues due to their condition, people with ADD/ADHD live much more manageable lives.

Works Cited
ADD Partnership of Ohio. Attention Deficit Disorder: A Handbook. Stark County: ADD Partnership of Ohio, 1992. Book.


 

 

 

 

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