If you think back to your school days, you probably remember the kid who could never sit still in class. He was always interrupting others, had trouble turning in his assignments on time, and was continuously getting up out of his seat during quiet reading hour. He seemed to be very intelligent and he was a lot of fun to play with during recess, but he always received poor grades, and he just drove everyone crazy during class.
Chances are strong that he drove himself crazy as well. Chances are stronger that he suffered from a fairly common disorder known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Commonly known as ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). It usually presents itself in childhood, and often continues into adulthood. ADHD can be a very painful condition to live with. It can limit the sufferer’s ability to maintain meaningful social interactions with others and can severely affect his ability to follow through on projects or assignments. Sitting still seems impossible, even when punishment may follow his inability to do so. He is often considered a troublemaker and his parents and teachers are typically exhausted and frustrated, which may lead to him feeling depressed, defensive, and confused.
Although both Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are usually associated with one another as slightly different manifestations of the same basic syndrome, the differences between the two are often considered to be more dramatic than the similarities. Both forms of the disorder cause the sufferer problems with concentration, trouble following through on tasks, a strong tendency toward disorganization, and a decreased ability to adherence to deadlines. However, behaviorally, they present in nearly opposite ways. People with Attention Deficit Disorder tend to be quiet and withdrawn, are typically shy, and do not generally call undue attention to themselves. People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are more likely to be brash and far more forward, always on the move, and are likely to cause a commotion wherever they go.
This article will concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment options of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
To the schooled professional, or to the strung out parent or spouse, the diagnosis of a sufferer of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be a fairly simple process if the people looking into the diagnosis know what to look for. People with ADHD tend to be restless and hyperactive. They exhibit a hard time sitting still, they fidget and squirm in their chairs, and they have a lot of trouble engaging in quiet activities. They often interrupt others in conversation, say things that pop into their minds, even when inappropriate to the topic or situation, and may develop a reputation for talking excessively.
Treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Most people are surprised when they investigate the active ingredients of the most common pharmacological treatments for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Strattera, Metadate, Methalyn, Focalin, Dexadrine, and Dextrostat, which are typically prescribed for patients suffering from ADHD, are stimulants.
The surprise at the prescription of stimulants for the treatment of ADHD is understandable. It would seem that sufferers of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are already over stimulated. However, the primary problem in the brains of ADHD patients is that they have a decreased ability to remain stimulated on their own. Because of the busy nature and distractibility of people with ADHD, it is generally assumed that their brains are already overly stimulated. The opposite is actually true. The activity of the ADHD brain is depressed, and therefore it is constantly seeking stimulation from without. This causes the patient with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to bounce around, their brains attempting to stay stimulated by what is going on around them and causing great difficulty in screening out any excess activity.
The medications available for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tend to be very helpful in controlling the symptoms of this disruptive disorder. By stimulating the brain itself, the patient is better able to maintain a more controlled response to the stimulus coming from outside. However, as with most medications, the pharmacological treatments for ADHD can be accompanied by some adverse side effects, including nervousness, decreased appetite, weight loss, trouble sleeping, headaches, and abdominal pain. Often, these side effects will resolve with time or can be addressed by adjusting the dosage of medication.
For patients who cannot tolerate the ADHD medications, or for those who prefer an alternative to pharmacological solutions, there are other treatments that are also currently utilized for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, behavioral counseling, biofeedback, and nutritional supplements and/or dietary regimes are also explored by sufferers and their families to attempt to quiet the busy brains and near constant movement of the ADHD patient. Many patients choose to explore one or several of these alternatives in conjuncture with the medications prescribed to them.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a disorder that is remarkably prevalent in the U.S. today. The number of people suffering from it is estimated at between 3 and 15 percent of the population, depending on the reports. The sufferers of ADHD not only find themselves caught in a cognitive and physical intensity that does not afford them much rest or comfort, but they can experience devastating social ramifications as well. Fortunately, ADHD is becoming easier to recognize by parents, physicians, teachers, and friends and loved ones of the people afflicted with the condition, and diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is being addressed earlier, affording the sufferers greater access to more complete, less disruptive lives for themselves and those around them.