More than 7% of children today suffer from attention deficit disorder, and many other go undiagnosed. Basically it is a childhood developmental behavioral disorder which is characterized by inability to focus, being hyperactive or impulsive etc. While the actual cause of this disorder still remains unknown, it is usually more prevalent in males and also tends to run in families for generations.
While the treatment may seem difficult, it usually is comprised of a combinational therapy of medicine, behavioral therapy and alternative medicine as well.
Medication that is usually prescribed for this is some form of stimulant usually psycho stimulants. It does not come without side effects however, which can include increased anxiousness and irritability, weight loss or loss of appetite, insomnia, chest pain, vomiting etc.
Methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine and dextrostat are the most common drug prescribed which is a psycho stimulant. These medications, though a stimulant, have a calming effect of patients suffering from ADHD. All of the current drugs available only provide a temporary relief with the symptoms however. It is crucial to follow it up with combinational behavioral therapy.
Behavioral therapy is usually slow acting and spreads over a long course of time, but is definitely without any side effects. It helps the patient manage and deal with his issues and train them with task management, organization and reinforcement by rewarding good behavior etc. The overall goal of these methods is to train the child to manage their behavior. Setting up realistic goals and making the patient understand is an important step. To constantly make them aware of their actions, their consequences. The pros and cons, the reward and punishment system, etc is all part of the deal. Keeping them organized and disciplined, assigning rigid framework and a timed planned day, all help with the process. It also helps with the forgetfulness and difficulty in coordination. For a child with ADD, overstimulation can easily be a problem as well. You should help them focus on the details and teach them to concentrate on their small day to day goals. Typically, fixed routines help children with ADD to stay on their path towards recovery. Some teaching aids include planners and organizers, checklists and interactive support groups at home or elsewhere.
Some other methods that have been tried in combination with medical therapy include nutritional supplements, thyroid and lead treatment, dietary intervention, interactive metronome etc. Some of the herbal medicines that have been used as alternative treatment in other countries include ginkgo biloba, avina sativa, utrica, green oats etc.
Communication and patience are very important for the patient’s caretakers and parents. Children with ADD also commonly have learning and memory disorders, conduct disorder, antisocial personality etc which may help with the diagnosis as well. If left untreated, ADHD can have serious consequences in a person’s personality and lifestyle as an adult, leading to things such as drug and alcohol abuse, being a troublemaker with the law, having trouble at school etc. Early identification and being proactive about the treatment is the key to a pediatric patient’s healthy and normal development.