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ADHD in Children

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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ADHD in Children

What is ADHD in Children

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, generally abbreviated as ADHD, represents a chronic disorder that affects a large number of children that reaches millions on a year basis and unfortunately also persists throughout adulthood.

So far, there are three types that have specific linked details and go as followed: Hyperactive/ Impulsive form, Combined form (that has Inattentive/ Impulsive/ Hyperactive), and the Inattentive form. The contemporary concept behind ADHD was included in American Psychiatric Association in the year 2000 and is viewed as a relatively new. However, symptoms describing this condition have been used in medical literature for more than two hundred years although they weren’t linked to a particular issue, but rather with a general term describing child disturbances on a neurological level.

The first medical example related to a disorder which had similar characteristics was offered to the world by Sir Alexander Crichton in the year 1789. He was known as a Scottish physician and was born in the year 1763 in Edinburgh. After he received medical degree, he went to travel the world, where he discovered a lot of cases linked to insanity or neurological conditions.
Other works from people like Heinrich Hoffmann, Sir George Frederic, Franz Kramer, and Hans Pollnow feature aspects linked to this disorder, although their studies are incomplete.


Medical experts state that there is a powerful genetic component linked to ADHD. This is a conclusion based on the fact that in most cases children’s neurotransmitter or brain chemicals appear as different. However, there may be some other factors that influence its development and are not particularly linked to the genetic material, but rather to some common behaviors during pregnancy like drinking or smoking or certain obstetrical complications which may appear.

Furthermore, a link between the baby’s weight at birth and ADHD was discovered and, in some situations, revealed that a low weight means an increased possibility. The same connection was observed when it comes to children’s head injuries, specifically the ones related to the frontal lobe.

Other factors that may enhance the risks for its appearance includes exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides and PCBs. Although some people may be diagnosed in adulthood, the onset of this disorder is always in the childhood period. Furthermore, studies revealed that somewhere around thirty to seventy percent of the children who had ADHD continue to manifest symptoms after their passing into adulthood.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD vary depending on the person and may go undetected to a big age, particularly if the parent doesn’t notice the unusual behavior of the child or believes he or she is going to “grow out of it” at some point. An interesting feature is that some mothers state they even remember that their children have been hyperactive ever since they were in the womb, time in which they would constantly kick with more vigorousness when compared to others.

In order for a child to be diagnosed with this disorder, the symptoms have to have been displayed before the age of five and for more than six months. The three core symptoms that can be experienced are hyperactivity, inattentiveness and impulsivity. As compared to the others, children from the exclusively inattentive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to be overlooked due to the fact that they are not disruptive. On the other hand, they can be spotted because they are generally underperforming in educational institutes, have frequent fights with their parents or teachers due to not following rules, and clashing with some other children when it comes to avoiding playing according to the rules. Some other symptoms linked to this specific form of ADHD include focus troubles, not paying attention to details, troubles in organizing, getting bored with tasks prior to their completion, and frequently misplaced or lost books, homework, or toys.

On the other hand, those who suffer from the hyperactivity type manifest constant squirms and fidgets, leaves places when there is an imposed rule of maintaining quiet, has some difficulties in relaxing, and may possess a quick temper also known as a “short fuse.” Finally, those from the impulsivity category have symptoms such as acting without thinking, saying the wrong things at the most improper times, interrupting people, having temper tantrums and angry outbursts, and preferring to guess rather than take the time to come up with a solution for a certain problem.
Although most of these signs are deficitary, there is also a positive side to this condition which includes enhanced creativity, flexibility, spontaneity, energy, and enthusiasm among those diagnosed with ADHD.

Diagnosing ADHD in Children

In order to put a proper diagnose for children who may suffer from this disorder, their behavior should be monitored for at least six months, as we’ve previously mentioned. The symptoms generally appear after the age of five, but there are some situations in which they are observed into adulthood. Additional tests, evaluation of their abilities, review of the patients’ social and emotional function through the parent’s perspective, taking a family history, CT scan, or MRI may be involved when uncertainties exist on whether the kid suffers from this condition.

Treatment for ADHD in Children

There is a large variety of treatment that can be applied to children who have ADHD. From medication to clinical trials, exercising and natural approaches, the administration varies depending on the gravity and persistence of the situation. The drugs that are generally prescribed in more advanced cases are either stimulant or non-stimulant and include Concerta, Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Daytrana, Metadate, Methylin, Vyvanse, Catapres, Kapvay, Elavil, Pamelor, Nexiclon, Wellbutin, and Nopramin. Unfortunately, consumption of most prescribed medication also come with a series of potential side-effects such as weight loss, headaches, sleeping issues and jitteriness. When one or more of these appear, the dosage should be modified or a disruption of the treatment may be advised until they disappear.

For parents who don’t want to expose their kids to either stimulant or non-stimulant medication whose utilization is sometimes linked to some side-effects, they can choose a treatment based on an alternative approach. In order to choose wisely, they should look for dietary supplements that feature ingredients like Zinc, Fish Oil, St. John’s Wort and some combination between herbal extracts within which the most popular is the one of Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng. Regardless of the chosen treatment, it should be followed with great care,,and if something doesn’t go accordingly, it should be immediately interrupted and further consulting a medical doctor.