Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that appears in early childhood. It makes it difficult for individuals to restrain their spontaneous responses—responses that can involve everything from movement to speech to attentiveness.
The specific causes of are not known. But a number of factors like genetics, diet and social and physical environments may contribute to, or increase it. Environmental factors include alcohol and tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy and exposure to lead in very early life. Complications during pregnancy and birth—including premature birth, infections during pregnancy, at birth, and in early childhood are also linked to an increased risk of developing ADHD.
The signs and symptoms typically appear before the age of seven. There are basically three important symptoms – Poor concentration, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Only if a child shows all three symptoms in different environments like school and home, and are unable to control their behaviour are they considered for the diagnosis. ADHD can affect adults too. Adults with ADHD have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not dealt with appropriately, they can cause associated behavioural, emotional, social, vocational and academic problems.
Treatment usually involves both medication and therapy. Behavioural therapy involves adjusting the environment to promote more successful social interactions. Social skills training can help a child learn behaviours that will help them develop and maintain social relationships. Education and support for the parents can be an integral part of treating ADHD in children.