Understanding ADHD

a young boy smiling at the camera

The behavioural disorder attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been recognized and treated since 1902. However, it is only in the last 20 years or so that research has demonstrated that it is a neurobiological disorder with far-reaching impact on children.

Originally it was believed that ADHD was a condition that children would eventually outgrow. We now understand that ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, poor teachers or schools, or family problems, but due to chemical differences in the brain. It is not surprising, therefore that as many as 60 per cent of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adulthood if not properly treated.

Despite increased awareness and identification of the disorder, many children are not provided with optimal treatment that provides continuous symptom relief. It is important to remember that ADHD is a disorder requiring treatment, not a set of behaviours requiring controls. Sub-optimal treatment can have serious consequences for children such as a lack of friends, accidental death, injury, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, criminal activity, and causing marital difficulties for their parents.

research indicates the greatest improvement in symptoms is seen with a combination of counselling and medical treatment. For many children and their families, ADHD diagnosis provides a welcome explanation for their difficulties and leads to appropriate treatment.

All medications currently approved to treat ADHD belong to a class called stimulants. A number of new investigational ADHD treatments offer great promise and in the future Canadians will have more choice in ADHD treatment.

For more information on ADHD It’s important to speak with your doctor.

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