My daughter shows ADHD symptoms. What is the best treatment for it?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neuro developmental condition that affects young children as well as adults. It is a behaviour disorder characterized by inattention, impulsiveness and in some cases, hyperactivity. Children with ADHD are found with low levels of Dopamine and Norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters. Though it may be present in a child much earlier in life, parents usually seek help when it begins to interfere with learning in school and other age appropriate activities.
The 4 main ADHD symptoms are:
- Short attention span: Difficulty in sustaining attention and effort over a long period of time.
- Distractibility: Hypersentivity to the environment. This may often be through visual stimuli.
- Organisational problems: The inability to organise time and tasks.
- Poor internal supervision: Acting or speaking out without consciously thinking about what they are doing.
A detailed history of the child's behaviour from the parents & teachers is considered, child’s behavioural trends are observed and psychoeducational testing helps in reaching a diagnosis of ADHD. ADHD affects both boys and girls never the less, but girls usually have the inattentive form as compared to the hyperactive and impulsive type. In a classroom full of children the girls mind with ADHD would usually wander off, while on the other hand the boy would be jumping on and off the bench. In this case the boy can be corrected as the symptom is seen, whereas the girl could be easily missed out on a diagnosis.
The best option would be to talk to her and openly discuss her concerns. The sheer stress, frustration and loneliness of being misunderstood, criticised or rejected for operating differently while living in a society puts immense pressure on the females suffering from ADHD. To conform to social norms can be unbearable and bleak at times.
Stimulants are the most common medications used in ADHD treatment. Different children react differently to these stimulants and their effectiveness too. They regulate optimum levels of Dopamine and Norepineprine but if taken in slight excess, can have adverse effects on the child's developing brain.
As a parent there is a lot that can be done at home itself to improve the symptoms of your child. Patience is the key word in treating ADHD cases.
Since the children are highly distracted and lack focus, they will need to be told certain things repeatedly. Maintain a set pattern of routine activities and follow it right from waking up in the morning, to breakfast, school, studies, play time and games. Reward them for all positive actions and tasks completed. Make them a part of social groups as social interactions will help them boost their self esteem and teach them how to behave between a group of people. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a talking therapy wherein the therapist will talk to you in a group or individually which will help identify the problems and help understand the behaviour of the individual.
A good diet can help reduce ADHD symptoms. Eat regular meals at set intervals so the body maintains a steady blood glucose level. Include proteins, carbohydrates, minerals especially Iron which is known to improve ADHD symptoms. Fish oil supplements, contain Omega 3 fatty acids which are known to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and enhance concentration in children with ADHD.
Regular exercise is also an effective way of improving ADHD, as it boosts the brains dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels.