Up until very recently, the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were dismissed in a number of ways or not taken seriously.
In the past, children who suffered from ADHD were typically left undiagnosed and assumed to just be “difficult children.”
The symptoms of ADHD are very difficult to diagnose and may be indicators of many other conditions.
It is important, however, to identify and treat the condition in children as early as possible. Although there are many adults who have managed to suppress or deal with their ADHD, there are severe risk factors for a range of issues, such as:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Lack of success in studies
- Issues with succeeding at a career
- Problems with living within the law
What are the causes of ADHD?
True ADHD affects a small percentage of children, about 3-5%. It is more frequent in boys than in girls. The causes of ADHD are not really known, although certainly it is largely genetic in nature and tends to run in families.
There are also several other factors that are thought to cause ADHD, but these are still being studied intensively to determine how related they are. ADHD could be caused by:
- Brain injuries to the front of the brain during childhood
- Exposure to heavy metals in the environment (particularly lead)
- Using tobacco or alcohol during pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Weight very low at birth
Recently, scientists have been linking ADHD to dietary and metabolic disorders as well. Particularly, the idea of too much sugar and too little healthy dietary fat has been studied and is currently being studied, again giving credence to the belief that ADHD is a relatively new phenomenon.
How is ADHD treated?
ADHD is treated most commonly with a range of approaches. Parents of a child suffering from ADHD will work closely with their doctor and may also have therapeutic sessions with a psychologist or family counselor.
Among the drugs used to treat ADHD are Adderall, Focalin, Dextrostat, Vyvanse, Ritalin and Concerta.
It is important to diagnose ADHD early on and to address it by using a multi-pronged approach. This includes setting specific goals, starting medication and behavior therapy early, as well as following up regularly with the doctor.
Most physicians agree that with early diagnosis and treatment ADHD can be treated successfully by the time the child has reached adolescence.
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