Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is slowly becoming better understood in American homes, schools and society in general. While there is still a lot of research to be done on ADHD, medical experts confirm that this genetic mental syndrome is more treatable than ever before. Because ADHD affects up to 5 percent of all children and adults in the United States, every parent need to learn more about it as they interact with other parents and children that have ADHD in their lives.
What is ADHD Exactly?
ADHD is a condition where the neurotransmitters in the brain are not in balance. It is first noticed in young children and remains with a person for their entire life. An ADHD usually means that a child has a hard time paying attention, problems with behavior control and impulsivity. While medical researchers don’t know exactly what causes ADHD, it is a biological and often genetic syndrome. There is no known cause or cure for ADHD at this time, but treatment plans have improved greatly over the past decades.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
While the majority of parents, teachers and family members think of hyperactivity with ADHD, there are many other signs and symptoms that manifest in children and teens with ADHD that go beyond that. In fact, many of the symptoms can be surprising to those who are not familiar with the condition. Depending on the child’s age and the severity of the ADHD, many of these common traits may be obvious or barely noticeable.
Some of the more obvious symptoms of ADHD include impulsivity, easily distracted, impatient and lack of focus. A few of the less obvious or common traits include trouble establishing learning habits, easily frustrated, poor time management skills, disorganization, anxiety and depression. Symptoms usually manifest in early childhood, but especially in girls, more mild cases may slip through the cracks and cause problems for older children until an attentive adult takes note of the symptoms and recommends professional help.
The good news is that children that are diagnosed with ADHD have every opportunity to succeed in life. While they may face a different set of life challenges than some of their peers, they can happily join the ranks of many outstanding adults that thrive with ADHD. All it takes is the right support and treatments.
Myths About ADHD
The best way to learn more about ADHD is to learn what it is not. Unfortunately, there are plenty of myths out there surrounding ADHD that are hard to dispel and only add to the stigma surrounding the condition. Here are three of the most common misperceptions about ADHD in children.
Myth 1: Kids with good parents don’t get ADHD.
Scientists have shown that ADHD is the result of biology, not environment, so it manifests in children of all backgrounds, social classes, race and gender. Unfortunately, many people still blame parents for the actions of their ADHD children when they start to disrupt a classroom or an activity. With proper treatment, children with ADHD can thrive.
Myth 2: Children with ADHD aren’t as smart.
ADHD and intelligence levels are not connected, and in fact there are many adults with ADHD that are highly successful. The myth is perpetuated because many children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention in school and may have trouble concentrating on work. With proper treatment and training, children with ADHD can thrive in the classroom.
Myth 3: Only boys have ADHD.
Most cases of ADHD are in boys, at a rate of about three times more often than girls. However, this has caused a tremendous amount of misdiagnosing or underdiagnosing of girls with ADHD. Recently, more focus has been put on noting the different symptoms of ADHD in girls when compared to boys. Girls tend to experience less hyperactivity and impulsivity, but may struggle with focus, impatience, interrupting and mastering social skills.
Finding Success for Children with ADHD
Because of great strides made in the understanding of ADHD, treatment options are more effective than ever. It’s important for parents and children to work closely with doctors to find the right medications to ease the symptoms of ADHD. When that combination is found, children can do better socially and have fewer problems with focusing on tasks at school.
Children also benefit from different types of therapy once they’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. Options include a regular behavior therapist, a school counselor, and an ADHD coach, among others. Each therapy session allows children to learn more about ADHD, deal with frustrations, adopt coping skills and analyze what behaviors are appropriate. This behavior modification therapy can give children the tools they need to manage stress and feel more comfortable in school and social settings.
Without treatment, children with ADHD can struggle in school and socially. ADHD is linked to low self-esteem, low grades and certain mental health issues in teenagers, such as depression. The right blend of therapy and medication can keep children with ADHD in line with their peers and making their way to a successful adulthood.
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