Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: Don’t Confuse with Autism
Attention Deficit Disorder is the outdated term for a significant display of:
These symptoms must be observable for at least six months and to an extent that is greater than other children of the same age.
The 1994 edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (referred to as DSM-IV) was published with an updated term, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I).
Children who are considered predominantly inattentive may:
- Be easily distracted, daydream, be forgetful, and switch from one activity to another quickly
- Have trouble concentrating on one thing at a time
- Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless they are doing something enjoyable
- Have trouble focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new
- Struggle to complete or turn in homework assignments, often misplacing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to finish tasks or activities
- Seem to ignore people speaking to them
- Overlook details, get confused easily and move slowly
- Process information slower and less accurately than others
- Have difficulty following instructions
Children who are considered hyperactive may:
- Fidget and squirm while trying to do quiet tasks and activities such as dinner, classes and story time
- Talk excessively
- Run around, touching or playing with anything and everything in sight
- Never stop moving
Children who are considered impulsive may:
- Exhibit impatience when waiting to receive something or waiting for their turn in games
- Blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
- Interrupt conversations or others’ activities repeatedly
ADHD-PI is the best-known subtype of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, the other two being attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder predominately hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI or ADHD-H), or the two combined (ADHD-C).
Children with six or more of the inattention category and less than six of the hyperactive-impulsive categories are considered as predominantly inattentive.
Children with six or more of the hyperactive-impulsive categories and less than six of the inattention category are considered as predominantly hyperactive-inattentive.
Children with at least six of both the inattention category and the hyperactive-impulsive categories are considered combined. Most children are diagnosed as combined (ADHD-C) with 30% – 50% of them still manifesting the symptoms as adults.
Estimates place ADHD-PI in three to five percent of children worldwide. Boys are two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with this condition than girls.
The cause of ADHD is unknown but scientists believe that genes are the largest contributing factor . Environmental factors such as smoking and alcohol during pregnancy may also affect the child adversely while a tiny percentage of cases are caused by brain injuries.
Sugar has been suggested but is under heavy debate while food additives needs much more study.
Symptoms of ADHD-PI are generally present before the age of seven. If you suspect ADHD-PI affects your child, a psychologist or psychiatrist who is specializes in the condition can diagnose the extent of the symptoms and refer your child to the right specialist. A psychiatrist can also prescribe medications as part of the treatment.
- Behavior therapy – encouraging the child to respond in certain ways and avoid responding in other ways
- Lifestyle changes – adding procedures that reinforce good behavior and removing procedures that create bad behavior
- Counseling – working with the child one-on-one
- Medication – drugs should be a last resort when the above methods fail. Drugs can produce unwanted side effects including appetite loss and sleeplessness.
The most important thing you can do is to educate yourself. There are many websites that can give you good information or point you to a good source, mostly for free.
Join a forum and interact with members who share your concerns. You can receive support, both in terms of encouragement and knowledge.
The more you know, the better you are able to assess proper treatment. No one will care more than you so it is up to you to do the research.