Students experience living with ADHD – The Guidon Online

Note. Source (Lizzy Lee, 2017)

What is ADHD?

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can occur in childhood and often continues into adulthood. Individuals with ADHD can be identified by their behaviors such as having trouble paying attention, controlling their impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity. ADHD can interfere with work, school , relationships and everyday tasks. Managing the disorder can be challenging but there are some treatments that are shown to be effective in helping to cope against the disorder. In Malaysia, the documented cases for ADHD prevalence is at 3.9% but the numbers could be higher due to unrecorded cases.

Common Types of ADHD ?

ADHD can be distinguished into three types which are inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive and also combination. Individuals with primarily inattentive ADHD often have limited attention span such as being easily distracted, finding it hard to pay attention to details or even follow instructions.  Individuals with inattentive ADHD are also often prone to make careless mistakes due to them having the difficulty to sustain their focus. Their behaviors are often overlooked and are mischaracterized as laziness.

In primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, they are characterized by the constant need to move around especially seen in children in which they often fidgeted, squirming around and often struggled to stay seated. They also struggle with self- control such as having the need to blurt out answers, interrupting others and also running around excessively.

 Next, combined type ADHD is usually the most common type of the disorder; it shows both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. In this case, six or more symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity have to be met for the individual to be considered as having combined ADHD.

The specific causes of ADHD have not yet been identified but it is known that genetics does play a role in the development of ADHD. Research shows that there is a higher percentage for children to be susceptible to ADHD if their parents or siblings have ADHD as well (Faraone & Larsson, 2019). Other factors that have been suggested to have played a part in the development of ADHD is the exposure to chemicals and heavy metal, premature birth, brain injury, and the usage of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy (Thapar et al., 2012).

How to Overcome ADHD ?

Therapy and medication are widely used to manage the symptoms of ADHD. Among the common therapies used are behavioral therapy (BT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In behavioral therapy for children with ADHD, it usually consists of teaching parents and guardians on how to provide positive feedback for desired behavior and consequences for undesired behavior. For example, having a reward system at school and at homes. Behavioral therapy is often useful with some children that were diagnosed with ADHD and it is often used alongside medication. For cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), it focuses on building the individual’s self-esteem which is mainly affected by ADHD by replacing the individual’s negative thoughts to a more realistic and positive ones. 

Adults with ADHD can also benefit from psychotherapy and behavioral strategies that could help improve the structure and organization of the individual’s work and daily life. An example of strategies that could be of use is keeping a diary of the daily tasks that needed to be done. Some alternative treatments have also been proposed to help with the management of ADHD symptoms. As such, a study amongst elementary school children suggested that alternative therapies such as yoga can be beneficial when paired with behavioral interventions for children with attention and inhibition problems (Chou & Huang, 2017). Exercising and working out could also help individuals with ADHD by reducing hyperactivity and inattention.

There are two types of medications used to treat ADHD which are stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants include methylphenidate and amphetamines such as Adderall and Ritalin are safely used for decades. Non-stimulants medication such as atomoxetine and guanfacine has also shown to be effective in managing ADHD symptoms. Non- stimulants are mostly taken by those that do not respond well to stimulants or if non-stimulant is preferred. It is also best to take note that the intake of any form of prescribed medication must be carefully monitored by parents if children are involved. Although living with ADHD can be difficult at times but with the help of therapy and organization skills that benefit the individual the most, ADHD can be manageable.

References

Chou, C. C., & Huang, C. J. (2017). Effects of an 8-week yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. PeerJ, 5, e2883.

Muhd Ramli, E. (2017, July 24). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Retrieved July 3, 2020, from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/

Faraone, S.V., & Larsson, H. (2019). Genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?. Archives of disease in childhood, 97(3), 260-265.

Parekh, \\r. \92017). What is ADHD? Retrieved July 3, 2020, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/what-is-adhd

Thapar A., Cooper, M., Jefferies, R., & Stergiakouli, E. (2012). What causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Archives of disease in childhood, 97(3), 260-265.