Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that has neurobiological causes. Although there are some assumptions about the genetic determination of this disorder, this fact is not yet clearly proven, and further research is needed to determine what exactly causes this disorder.
ADHD can occur as a result of affecting the child’s brain during fetal development, at birth or after birth after trauma, injury, infection, due to temporary lack of oxygen or other congenital conditions. Thus, the incidence of ADHD is significantly higher among these risk categories, to which is added the category of premature or very low birth weight children. Also, stress, smoking, drug use, alcohol and prohibited drugs during pregnancy or other medical conditions of the mother during pregnancy can cause ADHD disorder in the child. At the same time, children with an early history of abuse, neglect and abandonment exhibit specific ADHD symptoms, although in these cases it is more likely that there is an attachment disorder.
What exactly is ADHD?
When we say „ADHD”, we usually imagine that overactive child, who goes around everywhere, speaks unkindly, violates all the rules and is resistant to any form of discipline (be it reward or punishment), being an energy volcano that exhausts both the family and the teachers involved in its education. At the same time, it seems to be the definition of a very spoiled child, but also of a child with a volcanic temperament and a lot of energy to consume.
ADHD means much more. It is important to know that there are two types of ADHD:
• ADHD in which attention predominates – more often in girls. It involves a consistent and visible pattern of attention-concentrating difficulties, especially in tasks involving sustained mental effort (such as school tasks), difficulties in organizing and planning simple daily activities, distractibility, superficiality and neglect. personal goods and activities to perform, difficulties in understanding complex verbal instructions, in staying on topic during a conversation and difficulty in coherently telling a story.
• ADHD in which hyperactivity and impulsivity predominate – more often in boys. It involves excessive motor activity, a permanent state of agitation, excessive talk, lack of patience and the inability to postpone gratification, the need to get what you want on the spot, taking on risky behaviors without a proper anticipation of the consequences or danger.
Often, the child presents all three descriptive elements of this disorder: hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, with varying degrees of severity.
The symptoms mentioned should not be the expression of oppositional, defiant, hostile behavior or failure to understand the instructions or task to be performed. In addition, many of these symptoms must have been present before the age of 12 years.
How do we correctly recognize ADHD?
Any child can be hyperactive, impulsive, or inattentive at certain times in their life, without being ADHD. The modern lifestyle, which offers reduced opportunities for outdoor movement and practical activities, does not allow children to properly consume their energy. The state in the house in front of the TV or the tablet, but also the state in the bank at school for hours in a row make the little ones turn into real „clock bombs”. From cheerful, healthy and energetic children they become „children-problem”, with all the serious consequences on school life and family.
In order to consider the diagnosis of ADHD, it is necessary that the social life of the child, his adaptive abilities and especially his school performance be severely affected by these types of behaviors, so that the result is a dysfunctional child in all walks of life: family , school or academic and social.
The diagnosis of ADHD is made by the psychiatrist or neurologist usually after the age of 6 – 7 years, because the hyperactive behavior and the short duration of focus of attention are often specific to the young child (especially among boys), being a normal stage of development.
It is very important to remember that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, being a medical condition present since birth. Therefore, its specific symptoms must have been observed since childhood, becoming more evident when the child is integrated into the community. Thus, if a child manifests the symptoms described at a well-defined time (for example, after the parents’ divorce or after another traumatic event, but also after school starts or simply abruptly, without any obvious explanation), most likely this does not suffer from ADHD, but from another medical or psychological condition. Because there are many neurological and psychiatric disorders that cause a change in the child’s behavior in an „ADHD” pattern, differential diagnosis is crucial.
A correct diagnosis of ADHD implies that the symptoms are visible in almost all contexts of the child’s life, both at home and in kindergarten, school or at the playground. In addition, they must manifest approximately the same, regardless of the person the child interacts with or disciplines. A child who is agitated only at home, only at school or who has ADHD manifestations only in the presence of grandparents, but not of parents, is most likely a child either spoiled or with other emotional and behavioral problems that must be correctly identified.
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