Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition most prevalent among children below 15 years, but may grow with the child into adulthood if left unattended.
Children with ADHD exhibit either impulsive reactions, overall dullness, or a combination of these two symptoms, but the bottom line is that affected children will have challenges paying attention to a single event in its totality. Additional symptoms are as follows:
Symptoms of ADHD
- Unsettled behavior; jumping up and down
- Incessant talking
- Interrupts others
- Dislikes attention-requiring tasks
- Too clumsy and unorderly
- Highly irresponsible; loses things a lot
- Forgets concepts and instructions abnormally fast
- Often fails to pay attention to details, making obvious mistakes
Almost ALL children exhibit these features at some point in their childhood. However, ADHD children will have the symptoms abnormally in excess, and grow into adulthood with some of these symptoms.
Generally adults are expected to be responsible, fully attentive when required, and behave controllably. Although ADHD fades away with age, some adults will be unexplainably inattentive, irresponsible, and behaving uncontrollably.
ADHD exerts its effects in a minimum span of six months and may go to years if left unattended. During the brief period a child suffers from ADHD, several risks and effects are anticipated.
Long term effects of ADHD
- Insomnia – child cannot sleep or rest for long and ends up acquiring the sleep-deficit disorder.
- Poor performance – the child cannot pay attention to concepts taught in class. Consequently, they underperform during exams.
- Losses – the child risks losing important assets, money, and other essentials due to attention-deficit disorder.
- Accidents – this is partly caused by the uncontrollable behavior by the child, and the lack of attentiveness of the surroundings, enough to notice dangerous hazards.
- Failed relationships – some of the mistakes committed may be inadmissible to parents, teachers, or loved ones, exposing the relationships to impatience and anger.
Some of the Pharmaceutical Treatments for ADHD
To date there has not been a discovery for medicinal treatment of ADHD. The medications administered only serve to offset symptoms brought by ADHD.
One of the commonly administered medicines are stimulants. These are immediate and extended – release medicines which stimulate the brain to increase secretion of dopamine and norepinephrine, hormones that increase attention levels and relieve fatigue as experienced by ADHD patients. Some of the brands in the stimulants category are amphetamine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine.
Non-stimulants are additional options to treating ADHD. Contrary to the stimulants’ mechanism of aggravating the production of dopamine, non-stimulant medications provide adjustments to the neurotransmitters in the brain, boosting concentration and controlling activity.
Why non-therapeutic methods are preferred
Non-pharmaceutical solutions for ADHD are spread out in a wide scope of psychological interventions, practices, and activities so as to deal with the symptoms of the condition. These non-pharmaceutical solutions are preferred over the medicinal ones, mostly because of the dangers that come with stimulant administration.
One of the stimulants mentioned in the above list of ADHD medications is methamphetamine, otherwise known by the street code as meth. This is a strong stimulant known for drastic physiological effects such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, and euphoria, even after minimal consumption.
The other stimulants too exhibit similar side effects including muscle tremors, confusion, anger, psychosis, risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, or even stroke. Parents loathe such fates for their already sick children.
Stimulants are highly addictive medications, such as methamphetamine and methylphenidate which are commonly abused. It is for this reason that reformed drug users may not be fit to consume stimulants as medication, like other people would. Thus, to avoid all these complications and deliver uncorrupted treatment to their children, parents often settle for non-pharmaceutical solutions.
ADHD non-therapeutic solutions
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
ADHD is a predominantly behavioral disorder whose symptoms can be managed by training and physiotherapy, to have similar effects as natural maturity. One of the eminent physiotherapies is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) whereby the patient is immersed into psychological and physical training to manage symptoms of hyperactivity and inattentiveness.
Some of the skills inculcated during CBT include;
- Constrained behavior
- Stable mood
- Controllable and engaging speech without interruptions
- Organizational skills to improve on one’s organization
- Responsible management of one’s possessions.
As for inculcating attentiveness, the patient can be subjected to memory training, attention training, and concentration on single activities without deviating.
High sugar intake has been found to potentially increase the susceptibility to ADHD among children, and worsen the effects of the condition once it shows up. Therefore, to deal with hyperactivity and inattentiveness, the patients will have to feed on balanced diets with specific focus to the following meals;
Proteins – these are very essential to the production of dopamine, the hormone responsible for stimulating neurotransmitters and enhancing attentiveness. Proteins of any form are generally key to this role.
Reduced additives – Allergist Ben Feingold introduced the premise that colorings, additives, and preservatives are causative agents for hyperactivity. As a result, cutting consumption of these foods is one of the measures to deal with ADHD away from the medications.
Supplements intake – Nutritionists have suggested consumption of omega-3 to enhance attentiveness. Similarly, magnesium and melatonin supplements are believed to enhance sleep and concentration during tasks.
Exposure to high levels of toxic chemicals like lead and narcotic drugs develops high risk environments for the development of ADHD. Mothers taking these drugs during pregnancy also increase the chances of giving birth to children with ADHD. As much as reduced exposure to chemicals is more of a preventive measure against ADHD before birth, it may also be considered as an intervention to alleviate the symptoms of the condition.
Reduced screen time
Research has established strong links of screen time to attention-deficit and hyperactivity. Children that spend significant amounts of their time on TV, computers, and videogames are at a higher risk of exhibiting ADHD symptoms. It is advisable that children below 2 years be exclusively limited to any screen time, while those between 3-7 years be limited to 2 hours maximum of screen time per day.