Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is thought by some to be an “academic” disability causing difficulties with attention and concentration in the classroom. However, ADHD is more than just an academic issue, it is a neurobiological disorder caused by chemical differences in the brain. Untreated, it may affect all aspects of the lives of those with ADHD, including his/her social interactions, extra-curricular activities and family relationships. ADHD requires continuous symptom relief to improve the overall functioning of a child.
Studies have shown that children with ADHD who do not receive treatment run the increased risk of accidental death, injury, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and criminal activity, along with causing marital difficulties for their parents. Social abilities and development of strong interpersonal skills are also at risk. Many children with ADHD have few friends and suffer from low self-esteem.
Proper diagnosis can help those with ADHD put their difficulties into perspective and provide a better understanding of many ADHD symptoms. Although more formal checklists are used in assessing ADHD, the patient support group CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) lists the following core symptoms:
- Poor attention to detail
- Difficulty sustaining attention
- Poor listening skills
- Difficulty following instructions
- Difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Poor organization
- Always “on the go”
- Excessive talking
- Losing things
- Easily distracted
- Interrupting others
Proper treatment of ADHD can manage symptoms and provide children with a chance to fulfill their potential. Research shows the greatest improvement in ADHD symptoms results from a combination of counseling and medical 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, please visit your family doctor.