ATTENTION-DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER

Abstract

Children suffer from various neurological diseases in their various stages in development. As a result there is various psychiatric disorder affecting children in their development. Studies have however shown that Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the most studied among psychiatric disorder and diagonized disorder among children. The disorder may affect a child at the age of 3 years, with the onset of symptoms at the age of 7 years. What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? A disorder in children with neurobehavioral developmental impairments is referred to as ADHD (Short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This research paper focuses on ADHD in children aged 3years to 10 years of age (Esser, Schmidt, & Woemer, 1990). The paper will mainly focus on the causes of this disorder, the symptoms of the disorder, effects on the child, diagnosis, and prevention and treatment of the disorder. The paper will also focus on the measure that a parent with such a child in the family can take to help such a child overcome this disorder.

Introduction

According to Amor et al. (2005), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder "associates inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and has a prevalence of 5%t to 10%" (Amor et al., 2005, p. 121). This disorder has a close connection to genetic inheritance as the main cause. Although this might be the case, Amor el al (2005) has argued that the ADHD has no single established cause. In his argument, he has given his evidence in some cases of twin family and studies carried out on adoption. Studies carried out on twins have indicate that, ADHD heritability is high, ranging from 75% to 90%. In addition, these studies indicate that the rest of the variance in the ADHD phenotype (10%-25%) is accounted for mostly by nonshared environmental factors (experienced by1 member of the family to the exclusion of his or her siblings). In contrast, the involvement of shared environmental factors (shared by all the individuals in the family) in increasing the risk for ADHD is estimated to be minimal" (Amor et al,. 2005, p. 121). It's imperative to note that studies on case control epidemiologic have shown that some environmental factors that are characterized with children diagnosed with this disorder include "pregnancy, labor/delivery and neonatal complications" (Amor et al., 2005, p. 121). When a child is exposed to such conditions in their early periods of development, their brains are traumatized, and as a result, they develop cognition and behavioral problems. The study conducted by Amor et al has indicated that smoking tends to increase the risk of the child having cognition and subsequently developing behavioral problems. This in other words to mean that mothers with an ingrained tendency to smoking during pregnancy, tends to increase the risk of their babies having ADHD. From their study, the authors concluded that "children with ADHD and their unaffected siblings were found to be at a higher risk for early onset of smoking" (Amor et al., 2005, p. 121). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in young children has also been found out to be as a result of maternal alcohol consumption. Amor et al have convincingly argued that ADHD is in most cases diagonized in children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome and in children whose parents are addicted to alcohol. The author have quoted the works of Brown et al and Aronson et al in their study arguing that "children born to mothers who had abused alcohol throughout pregnancy had more behavioral and attention problems than children born to mothers with no alcohol consumption during pregnancy. There was a correlation between the occurrence and the severity of psychiatric disorder, including attention deficit, and the degree of alcohol exposure of the children in utero" (Amor et al., 2005, p. 121). This in other words is to mean that there are genetic determinants shared between alcohol and ADHD. It is therefore important to note that the environmental factors highlighted above in their relationship with ADHD may be termed as complex in determining the nature of the risk involved within these factors and their correlation with genetic factors.

Causes of ADHD

Researches have not yet concluded with certainty the ADHD cause; implying that the cause is not yet known. As discussed above, there are several factors that are attributable to ADHD cause. These factors include genetic compositions (implying that the psychiatric disorder may be passed from the mother to the child), diet taken, among other environmental factors such as social and physical environments (Barkley, 1990).

Symptoms of ADHD in children aged 3years to 10 years

Behavioral studies have shown that some signs of ADHD may not be easily identified in a child due to the fact that such characteristic behaviors are common with children in that particular stage in development. This implies that for a parent to identify such abnormalities in their children, such behaviors should appear at an augmented degree for easier identification. A child may only appear to have suffered from ADHD if he/she is diagnosed with several characteristics depicting attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The DSM-IV has set the following category for easy identification and classification of ADHD (Anderson et al., 1987). Severity: this category enables one to identify and subsequently classify a child suffering from this disorder. This category stipulates that a child is diagnosed with ADHD if and only if "the behavior in question occurs more frequently in the child than in other children at the same development stage" (Danielson, 2009, p. 3). Early onset: a child being diagnosed with ADHD must have exhibited some of the signs early enough to the age of 7 year. This implies that its expected that the child, though not yet diagnosed with ADHD, to depict attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prior to his 7 years of age. Duration: at the time when evaluation process or procedure is being carried out, the symptoms or the signs of ADHD should have been present for duration not less than six months before the evaluation process (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000). Impact: ADHD usually have augmented impacts on the child social and academic life. This then means that ADHD related symptoms should at least show negative impacts on the social life or academic performances of the child suffering from this disorder. Setting: ADHD symptoms usually appear in a number of ways; in other words, in multiple settings. A child suffering from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has inattention and hyperactivity symptoms (Pelham, Wheeler, & Chronis, 1998). Effects of ADHD on child performance It has been identified that children with ADHD experience augmented challenges while at the school environments. Students suffering from this disorder usually fail to adhere to the rules and regulations set (Carlson et al., 1992). Such children also show disruptions in class and are characterized with poor academic performances. It has also been discovered that such children have little interest for school and thus increased drop outs rates for children suffering from the disease. Their disruptive behavior makes them susceptible to school expulsions (Cantwell & Baker, 1991).

Treatment options for children suffering from ADHD

There is no single cure that has been developed for ADHD. Although this is the case, there exist various treatment options that are known to be effective for the children suffering from this disorder. Such approaches or strategies that can be employed on the victims of ADHD include: behavioral approaches on the child (based on the child interaction), pharmacological methods and multimodal strategies (Abramowitz et al., 1992).

Behavioral strategies

These strategies are aimed at transforming the social environments of a child. The approaches are also designed to modify the social environment of the child and hence change their behavior. This in other words is to mean that when such strategies are applied on ADHD victim, they facilitate the reinforcement of appropriate behavior. There are a number of people who may assist in implementation of this approach. These include parents and specialists in this area, such as therapist and psychologists (Danielson, 2003

Pharmacological approaches

This approach employs the use of drugs in treatment of the disorder. These substances are usually stimulants that help to regulate the mood and behaviors of the child (Danielson, 2003). Multimodal approaches This is the use of combined approaches or strategies to reduce on ADHD symptoms. In this case, different approaches are combined to increase the chances of improvement or change of a child behavior (Danielson, 2003).

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