Children suffering from ADHD tend to be fidgety and also may show symptoms of hyperactivity. Doctors say that if the problem is not tackled early it may lead to serious developmental and scholastic problems
Reena was a worried mother, her son Shravan was distracted and at times appeared aggressive. What she initially ignored as a sign of mischief was now affecting his academics and social life. Shravan was suffering from a psychiatric disorder which many children face nowadays known as ADHD. “It stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is basically the lack of ability to focus on anything. Regular hyperactivity and lack of attention usually wears off by the time the child is four, but if the problem persists then there is a possibility of this being a problem. ADHD can be diagnosed as early as the age of two,” says Dr Ashok Alimchandani, consultant psychiatrist, Apollo Hospital.
Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy, consultant pediatric psychiatrist, Rainbow Children’s Hospital says, “Young children tend to be naughty especially boys, parents tend to be confused and think that this naughtiness is ADHD. But there is a difference.” ADHD is a combination of two problems, attention deficiency and hyperactivity. When it comes to a lack of attention, children are unable to concentrate on anything. Dr Chakrovarthy explains, “Children may get bored of things very easily. They shift from doing one thing to another. Anything that is boring and does not excite them, makes them distracted. They tend to be poor at dictations and may have a serious problem with writing as they may find the activity of writing boring,” he says, adding, “The child’s mother may have to spend alot of time with them to get their homework done as they will not stay in one place for a long time. As they are inquisitive they may appear destructive. For example, they may want to know how things may work hence may open up things and may get into fights.” When it comes to hyperactivity, they may restless and figity.
Dr Ashok mentions that minor development problems may wear off by the time children turn 14. If not taken care of it may develop into adult ADHD. Apart from the possibility of it developing into adult ADHD, Dr Ashok adds, “If not tackled early, it may lead to scholastic backwardness and the child may fail competitive exams. They may also face a host of other problems such as low self esteem, they may become irritable and throw tantrums.It is not that only doctors but parents and teachers will be able to notice the symptoms.”
Dr Chakravarthy says that children suffering from ADHD need not be violent. He says, “Parents come and say that their child is intelliegent and their memory is good. What parents should understand is that ADHD has nothing to do with memory.”
Dr Ashok explains that the brain has certain attention processes whivh may not function properly thus causing this disorder. Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy says, “Thirty per cent of the reasons for the disorder are genetic. Apart from that peer pressure can also be a cause in the sense that children tend to copy their peers. Exposure to media also has an impact. It brings infront of the child a fantasy which excites the child and the child wants to experience it. Videogames too introduce children to the concept of points and stars, which attracts them. They expect real life to be like that too.” Dr Kalyan adds that parents lack of attention towards the children as well as the presence of certain foods in the diet may also be a cause.”
According to Dr Ashok, “Treatment for ADHD may be both medical as well as non-medical.” Dr Kalyan explains, “For diagnosis, a 360 degree evaluation of the child is done through a copyright scale. This analysis is doen based on the responses of family, teachers as well as the doctors evaluation. Once that is done various processes of treatment such as behavioural therapy, counceling, multivitamins and other medications may be chosen by the doctor based on the requirement.” Dr Ashok adds that children with ADHD have alot of energy so you should chanelise their energy.
Dr Chakrovarty states, “ADHD is a challenge. Parents should handle the kids with praise, affection and tolerance. They should sit and talk to the child. Parents need to have a common understanding of how to handle the child and shoould avoid arguing infront of them. Parents may also not realise the childs behaviour though teachers and society does.”
He adds that it is very difficult to expect the school to take responsibility for the childs problem.
Parents need to understand that a majority responsibility lies with them and they should not throw this responsibility at the school.
Thirty per cent of the reasons for ADHD are genetic. Peer pressure can also be a contributing factor
-Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy, pediatric psychiatrist