ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVE DISORDER ?
Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD for short) is one of the more common neurological developmental disorder that affects children, adolescents, and adults. Children afflicted with ADHD are inattentive, quick tempered, impulsive and quite restless to the point that they find it almost impossible to sit still. As per reports almost one-third of children are described by their parents as overactive, and 5-20% of school children are described by teachers, these reports describe a spectrum of behavior ranging from normal high spirits to a severe persistent disorder. It is important to point out here that Attention Deficits Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) denotes the functionally impairing persistent end of the spectrum. Early intervention in ADHD can help a child achieve age appropriate goals and assimilate better in school and society. Indeed with the right therapies children can learn to target this hyperactivity into excellence in sports and inattentiveness can be converted to hyperfocus and extreme skill at certain activities
As per reports as many as 11 percent of children in India at the primary level and 5 percent children worldwide have one form or another of ADHD.
Common symptoms of ADHD include:
- Lack of attention
- Mood swings and easy to anger
- Impulsiveness and low tolerance level
- Difficulty in time-management
- Stress-related problems
ADHD Rates by Age
Most ADHD cases are found in children. While hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inability to focus are all normal traits for children, children with ADHD suffer more extreme symptoms. Generally speaking, about one-third of children diagnosed with ADHD carry their diagnosis into adulthood.
The following are statistics on ADHD pertaining to age:
- The median age of diagnosis in children is 6 years old. This means that 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD were diagnosed by the age of 6.
- The median age of severe diagnosis in children is 4 years old. This means that 50% of children diagnosed with severe ADHD were diagnosed by the age of 4.
- In 2001 to 2004, 8.7% of adolescents (teens aged 13 to 18) were diagnosed with ADHD.
- In 2001 to 2003, about 4% of adults had ADHD.
- In a 2013 study, children aged 12 to 17 made up the largest percentage of ADHD diagnoses (11.8%). Children aged 6 to 11 made up 9.5%, and children aged 4 to 5 made up 2.7%.
ADHD Rates by Gender
There are definitive differences in the rate of ADHD cases between men and women.
A deeper look shows that:
- ADHD affects three times as many males as females.
- In one study, 12.9% of boys were diagnosed with ADHD, while 5.6% of girls were diagnosed.
ADHD & Co-Occurring Diagnoses
ADHD can occur alongside other disorders like depression, anxiety, or autism. Co-occurring disorders can be either symptoms of a larger disorder or the results of societal, cultural, or other expectations.
Whether co-occurring diagnoses are a symptom of ADHD or just a related issue, research shows that:2,3
- According to a 2016 parent study, 5 in 10 children with ADHD had a behavior problem. In that same study, 3 in 10 had anxiety.
- The CDC states that depression and autism spectrum disorder can also affect those diagnosed with ADHD.
- Another 2016 study found that 2 out of 3 children had at least one other co-occurring disorder. 1 in 6 children with ADHD suffered from depression while 1 in 7 children with ADHD had autism spectrum disorder.
There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which types of symptoms are strongest in the individual:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
Children with the disorder are often reckless and prone to accidents. They may have learning difficulties, which results in part from poor attention and lack of persistence with tasks. Many develop minor forms of antisocial behavior as the condition continues, particularly disobedience, temper tantrums, and aggression. These children are socially inhibited and can cause disruption both at home and in the classroom. They can be susceptible to bullying and can be easily influenced by ‘silly’ things. Mood fluctuates, but low self-esteem and depressive mood are common.
Restlessness, overactivity, and related symptoms often start before school age. sometimes the child overactive as a baby, but more often significant problems begin when the child starts to walk; they are constantly on the move, interfering with objects and exhausting their parents. But with a timely diagnosis and the right treatment plan, these children can go on to turn their lives around for the better!