Hyperkinetic disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavior which becomes evident in early childhood itself. The behavior of the child is effected by underlying problems of poor attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. In this condition, children under five are mostly inattentive and restless. But this does not necessarily mean that the child is suffering from ADHD. When the hyperactivity or inattention becomes exaggerated in comparison to other children, the child starts facing problems in school, social and family life, which gives way to the condition.
Around 2-5% of children can suffer from the problem of ADHD. This condition affects young boys more than girls. The exact cause of this condition is not completely known, however, ADHD is more common in children who have had significant traumatic experiences, early in life. ADHD can be a problem running in the family as well. A special assessment is required to make the diagnosis of ADHD as there is no single and simple test to identify the problem. Patterns of behavior and thorough observation of the child in school and at home is needed to make the diagnosis. Computerized and specialized tests may be needed to understand the problem better.
Support and treatment is to be given to a child suffering from ADHD in all spheres of life, where the difficulties occur. It is of absolute importance for the teachers, family and parents to know and understand the condition which the child suffers from. The patient suffering from the problem also needs to recognize and work on bettering their condition. Behavioral management strategies like maintaining reward charts may be helpful for parents and teachers. Parent training programmes, the ones targeting the management of defiant behavior may be especially helpful. Special educational support may also be needed by patients.
Medications can be extremely helpful in treating both childhood and adult ADHD. The medications used in treating this condition helps in reducing hyperactivity and also helps in improving concentration. Medications have proven to help children communicate better with people and think more clearly. Stimulants like dexamphetamine and methylphenidate can be prescribed by doctors. Apart from that, non stimulants like atomoxetine may also be helpful. Methylphenidate is firstly recommended for children in the beginning of their treatment. Other non-stimulant medications can be prescribed if methylphenidate does not repond in the desired manner. The type of stimulants which are prescribed depends on a number of important factors like the signs and symptoms of the condition the child has and the method of treatment you want to opt for.
Symptoms of this problem starts appearing early in life itself. Behavioral symptoms of aggression, irritability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, lack of control and restrain, impulsivity and other signs can indicate towards a problem. Cognitive symptoms of difficulty in concentrating, forgetfulness or absent-mindedness and short attention span can make an individualeligible for the treatment.
Any individual who does not show symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not eligible for the treatment. People using MAO inhibitors should not take methylphenidate medication as it could result in a dangerous drug reaction. People who are allergic to methylphenidate or have glaucoma, a family history of tics or Tourette ’s syndrome, severe anxiety issues should not use these medications.
Methylphenidate has a number of side effects which need to be considered before taking the medication. Complications of losing appetite, feeling light headed and having difficulties in sleeping may be noticed. Other side effects may also include being over focusing, staring and remaining quiet too often.
Children who have ADHD may need to be on medication for as long as they continue their education or schooling. Regular checking at least once every year is important to track the improvement caused by the treatment. Young people may also need explanation and support about the medications while growing up. It is recommended to not leave the course of medication abruptly as the signs and symptoms of the condition may become more extreme.
With time and age, the symptoms of this problem stops showing up as the condition goes away with the right kind of medications. However, according to researches, 70-80% of children with ADHD carry the problem into adulthood as well. These symptoms although get suppressed with time.
The price of methylphenidate differs from brand to brand. However the price range of the medication is between Rs 100-500. Doctor’s consultation fee for ADHD can also range between Rs 500-4,000.
Taking medications for as long as prescribed may help in reducing the symptoms significantly. In some cases, the condition completely goes away. However, 70-80% of the cases reveal that patients live with the symptoms but the intensity of the problem reduces.
There are natural and alternative methods of dealing with the problem of ADHD. Eliminating food colorings and preservatives from your diet may be helpful in many cases. Avoiding potential allergens like chemical additives, milk, eggs, chocolates, other food items containing berries, chili powder, grapes, oranges etc may also help. Trying EEG biofeedback, considering yoga and tai chi and going for behavioral and parental therapies are all alternatives for the treatment.