Shocking statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health, are reporting that between 3 and 5 young children in every 100 have some kind of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This is 3 to 5% of pre-schoolers having difficulties focussing, acting on impulse and or not being able to sit still for seconds at a time.
This means a huge number of children with ADHD and an awful lot of suffering and anxious parents or carers across the country. ADHD comes in three main forms. Firstly what is known as ‘combined’ type ADHD, where the patients find it really hard to hold their attention span on single task AND also move around and fidget constantly. Secondly ADHD ‘inattentive subtype’ or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Concentration and rationality are impossible for youngster with this variant. And thirdly ADHD ‘hyperactive subtype’ where constant physical activity and impulsive behaviours are the constant states for children with this condition.
It is not only the children who feel the effects of ADHD, but also the parents and teachers for the symptoms are all social. They are a ‘butterfly mentality where attention never settles for more than a few moments before moving on to something else. ANYTHING else. There appears to be an innate lack of concentration, constant fidgeting and moving around, often climbing on people and furniture. An obvious inability to listen and act upon normal instructions such as instructions to stay close or to hold onto things. ADHD means no chores or homework are completed in any satisfactory way and emotionally there is a tiresome lack of empathy that shows itself in demanding interruptions and a stubborn refusal to take their turn in parental priorities.
Many of these symptoms of ADHD are common with other types of cognitive disorders, such as bipolar disorder. This can unfortunately lead to misdiagnosis of ADHD. A correct diagnosis is a highly complex and intricate process of observation and testing. It is essential be sure that the sufferer receives the correct course of treatment.
The first point of contact for parents who feel their children are showing signs of ADHD is of course their primary care medic. The next likely step, if the doctor cannot rule out ADHD after initial examination is a referral to pediatric and child development specialists. Parents, other adults around the child and teachers should be involved in observing, recording and rating the child’s behavior, for diagnostic reasons and in advance of any consultations.
Physical examinations and all the expected biological tests should be conducted to discover if there is any physiological reason behind the observed symptoms. Hearing difficulties and eye conditions can give rise to perception and behavioral abnormalities that look like ADHD. Blood analysis and an EKG will also provide the medical basis for any prescriptions. The parent’s feelings and observations are also key and must be explored by specialist interviews, as well as the family medical background.
Once diagnosed with ADHD, patients will often have basic blood work drawn and an EKG of the heart to provide their physician with a health baseline before they start medication. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of behavioral and developmental health professionals dedicated to properly diagnosing and treating patients with ADHD in the community.