Has your child been brooding repeatedly, or is constantly irritable? Does he have trouble concentrating on day-to-day affairs, or he acts impulsively in public and persistently interrupts a conversation? If you notice these patterns regularly in your child, or find him losing focus while doing everyday work or constantly daydreaming, he might be at a potential risk of ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Though these observations might seem like regular activities for all growing children, but for some, these very activities are way beyond normal as they turn violent, uncontrollable and beyond manageable. Such behavioral differences can lead to ADHD, a serious mental disorder.
A study – conducted by researchers Dr. Sean Cleary of the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and Kevin Collins of Mathematica Policy Research, and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2015 – outlines that 5.8 million U.S. children between the ages of 5 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. The researchers also used the reports of ADHD diagnosis by parents, sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the period of 2003-2011 to come to this conclusion.
According to the study, the overall number of children in the United States who were diagnosed with ADHD jumped 43 percent between 2003 and 2011. The increase was 47 percent over the eight-year period for children aged 10-14 years, and 52 percent for teens between 15 and 17 years. The researchers also found that 55 percent of females had ADHD as compared to males with 40 percent.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has raised the production of stimulant medications used to treat ADHD when the demand for the drugs outgrew the supply.
Psychologist Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, in his book “The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance,” – co-authored by health economist Dr. Richard Scheffler – says that it’s very difficult to diagnose ADHD. The hard part is that ADHD is just like depression, just like autism, just like schizophrenia – a symptom-based mental disorder. He also reflected that ADHD is a real and critical condition, but it is on a spectrum like high blood pressure and autism. The diagnosis sometimes remains very subjective as it is difficult to understand as to who is actually above the cut and who is below because the cut itself is not defined.
ADHD in adults
Not just children, but ADHD also affects adults. Dutch researchers claim that some adults do not outgrow ADHD, carrying the disorder even in the last decades of their lives, reported Medpage Today, a medical news portal on January 15, 2016. According to the report prepared by a team led by Dr. Sandra Kooij of the European Network of Adult ADHD for the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders (APSARD) meeting, approximately 3 percent of adults in the Netherlands older than 60 years of age still had ADHD.
Though the prevalence of ADHD is lower, the disorder can still be found in older people who continue to suffer from prominent symptoms like restlessness, uneasiness, concurrent depression and anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health reports on its website that ADHD affects about 4.1 percent American adults, aged 18 or more, in a given year.
Diagnosis and treatment
No single test can diagnose ADHD in a child. A medical expert needs to gather information about the child, his or her behavior and the environment he functions in. The family can play a key role in determining signs of ADHD. An adult, on the other hand, can be diagnosed if he has ADHD symptoms that began in childhood and continued throughout adulthood. Health professionals use certain rating scales to determine if an adult meets the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
ADHD treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, behavior therapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and are also using new tools like brain imaging to understand ADHD better and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.
If your child has irregular behavior patterns and is cranky at regular intervals, it is time for a medical consultation. Please remember that irregular tantrums or inattentiveness can be “not normal.” Sovereign Mental Health Services has a history of providing first-rate treatments for mental health problems like ADHD. For more information, please seek the help of expert medical consultant via online chat or call at 866-954-0529.