I am Dr. Ashish Sakpal, Psychiatrist, Mumbai. Today I am going to speak about ADHD. This disease begins at childhood but can persist in adulthood. It is very common as per the current statistic in India. There are more than 10 million cases which are diagnosed in India. ADHD can be understood by getting a child to a psychologist or a psychiatrist who can evaluate the child as per the issue he is facing. Let's understand what are the signs and symptoms of ADHD. It can be divided into 3 parts.
1. Behavioral problem
2. Cognitive problem
3. Mood problem
What is the behavioral problem with which child represents? A most common problem is hyperactivity. The child cannot sit calm or he is just running around, disturbing the class, hurting himself, restlessness. These are the usual problem which can be reported by the teacher. Sometimes, the child explores the new things in the house like touching objects in the house or disturbing the activity. Another symptom is impulsivity. He doesn't wait for his turn. Whenever the question is asked in the class, he raises his hand whether he knows or doesn't know the answer. But he will try to answer it first. He will not wait to follow the rules.
The cognitive symptoms which are reported by the teachers and the parents are mainly decreased attention span. He cannot remember the instructions given by the teacher. He often forgets a thing in the school. He is not able to have a major attention span. Constantly changing the channels on the TV. It becomes very difficult for the parent to look after the child. Most common symptoms are reported is forgetfulness, losing the concentration. The symptom is a mood disorder. The child is very irritable, constantly crying, anger issue, getting bored frequently. He disturbs like he will not let anyone speak. Sometimes he will feel fearful of speaking in the class. Learning difficulties, difficulties in writing, reading. So, these are the signs and the symptoms.
How do we manage ADHD? What is the treatment option available?
The treatment is as per the age of the child. There are different modalities of the treatment. The first is behavioral therapy. Making the family member understand the disorder because it is a neurobehavioral logical issue. 2nd thing is support groups. There are certain support groups or forums available online where parents can speak to the other parents, interact with them. The 3rd thing is occupational therapy where we can channelize the energy of the child to a more fruitful thing. The next thing available is the anger management issue where he cannot express his anger and we can train him to do that. Next is family therapy. In this parents need to be taught how to handle the child also involved in the school like the teachers can be given instruction like how to support the child or to look after him In adults we can try cognitive behavioral therapies. Their thought process can be understood.
Accordingly, he can relate his emotions and his behavior. So, other than this starting a child on the medications. There are certain medications which have shown good results. Medicines can be given to the child before he goes to school. And he can give a better performance in the school. Few syrups can also be given to the child where the child can focus better. In adults, the medicines modalities are different. If adults are facing any mood swings or any depressive symptoms. ADHD if not treated in a particular age group usually it has seen too many sequels in adult life. Like going towards addiction, work-related issues, relationships problem. So, it is important to diagnose this ADHD as early as possible. We also have different therapist coming to us like an occupational therapist, remedial educator, the psychologist who can help these children.