Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Uploaded by mumsa1 on Feb 29, 2012
ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK and tends to start at an early age.
In this article:
What is ADHD?
Advice & Support
Effect on your life
What is ADHD?
ADHD mainly affects children (3–9 per cent of school-aged children and young people in the UK) and consists of a combination of hyperactivity and an inability to concentrate on anything for more than a very short period of time.
Boys are more commonly diagnosed with ADHD than girls. However, behavioural psychologists suggest that this may be because of some differences in behaviour between genders (see Symptoms section below).
The symptoms of ADHD can range from mild to severe, and include:
being easily distracted
an inability to ‘wait your turn’ in situations where this is required, and
a tendency to become withdrawn and ‘dreamy’ (behaviour usually displayed by girls with ADHD, rather than boys, whose overall behaviour is livelier)
Other problems children with ADHD may have to cope with include:
learning difficulties, and
a tendency towards anxiety and depression
Symptoms usually become apparent at around the age of five.
The exact cause of ADHD is as yet unknown. However, in-depth research consisting of clinical interviews, trials and observational psychological studies into ADHD have led to the following suggestions as being possible causes as to why some children develop the condition:
Genetics – an inherited imbalance of neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit nerve signals to the brain). Usually a parent or a close relative also has the condition.
Diet – some food additives can aggravate hyperactive behaviour (these can be found in foods like ice cream and confectionery).
Antenatal and Obstetric problems – premature babies and babies with a low birth weight can be prone to developing ADHD, as can babies of mothers who smoke, drink alcohol and use recreational drugs during pregnancy.
Severe deprivation – where maternal deprivation occurs in the child’s early ‘mother–infant’ attachment stage.
If your child is displaying the aforementioned symptoms and you suspect that they may have ADHD then make an appointment with your GP to confirm an accurate diagnosis. (Please note: it may be that your child’s school will first raise the issue regarding your child’s hyperactive behaviour and inability to concentrate.)
Your GP will make a diagnostic assessment which may include:
a discussion with your child
a physical examination (to rule out other possible cause such as thyroid problems)
memory tests, and
If your GP diagnoses ADHD, your child will be referred to a specialist who will be able...