Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder that affects children.
The symptoms of ADHD can be divided into inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Behaviors that are typical of inattention include problems focusing on one thing, being easily distracted and bored. Symptoms of hyperactivity include fidgeting, talking nonstop and being constantly in motion. Children who have symptoms of impulsivity are very impatient, show their emotions without restraint and often interrupt conversations.
The exact cause of ADHD is not known but genetic factors are thought to play a role since it often runs in families. Environmental factors like cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy are also thought to contribute to the condition.
There is no cure for ADHD but medications are available to control the symptoms and improve functioning. These medications include amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Concerta) and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine). These stimulants help control symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsive behavior and a short attention span.
Nonstimulants like Strattera, Intuniv and Kapvay are also used to treat ADHD. These medications improve attention, memory and impulse control.
Psychotherapy is also used to manage children with ADHD. Behavioral therapy is used to help the child monitor and change their behavior. Social skills are also taught in order to help them fit in by controlling impulsive behavior.
A balanced treatment plan also includes nutritious meals, play and exercise. Exercises that require close attention like dance and gymnastics are especially good for children with ADHD.
The latest research by Massachusetts General Hospital reveals that there is an increased risk in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children who were exposed to antidepressants in the womb.
The support group for parents of children with ADHD in Tennessee meets on the second Tuesday of the month at Brentwood United Methodist Church on 309 Franklin Road, Brentwood TN 37027. The contact person is Denise Lennington who can be reached by phone at 615 776 3999.