ADHD – What is it All About?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Where does it come from? How do you 'get it'? Who 'gets it'?

There are a lot of questions to ask regarding ADHD.

First of all, let me clarify that my use of the abbreviation as ADHD amalgamates ADD and ADHD. Actually, ADD is now no longer diagnosed, only the term ADHD is used.

As the only major differentiator of ADD and ADHD is the Hyperactivity component, it is simpler to combine the two into ADHD.

Although children with ADHD can show symptoms by age 4, it is not until they go to school that the condition becomes obvious.

Once children go to school, the strict social demands make an ADHD child stand out.

Research estimates that between 3 – 5% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, but that many more exhibit the symptoms and have not been diagnosed.

The condition is more prevalent in boys and girls.

Possible causes of ADHD

1. Heredity

ADHD tends to run in families. A child with ADHD will mostly have a parent, sibling, grandparent or other family member with a similar history.

Having made this point, it is VITAL that at NO time is blame placed upon any member of the family for your child having this condition.

This would serve no beneficial purpose and would do more harm than good.

2. Pre- during- or post-natal complications

Trauma to the developing foetus may have caused brain injury or abnormal brain development. This could have been the result of foetal exposure to tobacco, alcohol, or high lead levels.

Again, blaming anyone would be FUTILE.

Taking responsibility by doing everything to help the ADHDer develop into a happy and healthy adult is much more beneficial.

3. Certain medical conditions and illnesses

For example, the medical condition of hyperthyroidism, and the illness, encephalitis which affects the brain could be the cause.

4. Neural issues

o Deficiency or inefficiency of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in the frontal lobe of the brain

o Reduced ability to metabolise glucose (the main source of energy) in the frontal lobe

o Less brain activity in the frontal regions of the brain as a result of less blood flow. Research is finding that different locations in the brain are also affected

o Possible structural differences in the brain

5. The childs environment

o Factors in the child's environment affect controlling symptoms of the ADHD condition, although they do not cause it

o These factors include: diet, supplements, food additives and colours, sugar, behaviour control techniques, concept of self-worth, the harmony of the family environment, stress management, disciplined routine strategies, learning strategies, school support, professional support, and so on

It would appear that ADHD, in itself, is a life-long condition.

However, although the symptoms continue to exist they can be managed through concerted efforts on the part of parents, professionals and everyone else in the life of the ADHDer, so that the child learns how to manage the symptoms and live a fulfilling, happy life.