What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a real, lifelong condition characterized by basic symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity, although these are by no means the only problems a person with ADHD encounters. ADHD affects almost every aspect of person’s life resulting in disturbed or impaired functioning that commonly persist in adulthood.
The neurobiological basis for ADHD is thought to be the result of problems with the brain’s chemical neurotransmitters, particularly norepinephrine and dopamine. Recent advances in technologies (brain scans and imaging studies) have helped to uncover several differences in the brains of people diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD is present from birth (congenital) and inherited in most cases. However, in most people, symptoms do not appear for several years. At younger ages, hyperactivity is the most commonly observed symptom. Inattentiveness and problems with organization and executive functions are not usually seen until much later as life’s demands increase or symptoms overwhelm a person’s ability to cope.
Over the life span, symptoms of ADHD may change. What first appears as out-of-seat behavior, daydreaming, and careless mistakes in childhood may become inner restlessness, failure to plan ahead, incomplete projects, and forgetfulness in adulthood. In general, women and girls with ADHD are less hyperactive and more inattentive than males with the disorder. For a girl with ADHD, symptoms may not affect her functioning for years if she receive a lot of support at home or at school, has a high IQ, or if she works hard and uses coping strategies. People with ADHD commonly demonstrate a mix of symptoms, however, and a girl or woman will be diagnosed with one of the various types of ADHD depending on her predominant symptoms presentation.
Cause of ADHD
ADHD is thought to be a physiological brain disorder with a familial tendency. Studies shows that this disorder may result from disturbances in neurotransmitter levels in the brain due to reduced blood flow in the striated area in the brain.
Scientists still don’t know exactly what causes childhood ADHD or what conditions are responsible for the disorder. Most agree that the condition is a neurobiological disorder that affects several areas of the brain, including those responsible for behavior, working memory, and executive functions.
Researchers also know that childhood ADHD is a highly genetic disease. Because the symptoms of the disease manifest differently in different children, it can be difficult to recognize and diagnose.
One of the first questions you may ask after your child has been diagnosed with ADHD is “Did I Do something wrong to cause it?” Over the years, medical science has come up with many theories regarding what might cause childhood ADHD. Today, most researchers agree that the disorder is not only highly genetic, but that it also has a neurobiological cause.
What may cause childhood ADHD:
- Structural abnormalities in the brain. Research using magnetic resonance imagers (MRIs) has shown that forebrain regions in children with ADHD are smaller than other children. Especially the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia are smaller, and there is decreased volume of the posterior inferior vermis of the cerebellum — all of which play important roles in focus and attention.
- Insufficient supply of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. This theory would explain why stimulant medications that increase dopamine in the brain are effective in controlling ADHD symptoms. Researchers speculate that the lack of dopamine may affect how it interacts with two other neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin.
- Sleep disorder in disguise. Some researchers believe the disorder may be caused by a sleep-deprived brain, and the hyperactivity children exhibit may be an effort to compensate for drowsiness. Many kids with ADHD have sleep disorders, while others sleep so soundly it’s hard to wake them up.
- Hereditary condition. While researchers don’t fully understand why and how ADHD is passed from one generation to the next, they agree there is a strong genetic component. Children with ADHD are extremely likely to have at least one close relative with the disorder.
- Environmental agents such as cigarette and alcohol use during pregnancy may increase the risk of ADHD in children. High levels of lead may also cause ADHD.
- Pesticides. A 2010 study in Pediatrics found that kids with higher urine levels of organophosphate, a pesticide used on crops, had higher ADHD rates. Another 2010 study showed that women with higher urine levels of organophosphate were more likely to have a child with ADHD.
Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD is congenital (by birth) and inherited in most cases. However, in most people, symptoms do not appear for several years. At younger ages hyperactivity is the commonest symptom. Over the time, symptoms of ADHD may alter.
Many people can experience symptoms of ADHD at different times, and you may even wonder, when searching frantically for your keys or forgetting important information, if ADHD is the root of your problems. ADHD symptoms are not episodic or transient however. Key to its diagnosis is that the symptoms are excessive, pervasive, and long-term. That being said, the triad of symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity characterizes ADHD.
Symptoms of inattention
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work, work, or other activities.
- Dost not pay attention to listen when spoken to directly
- Unable to sustaining attention when playing and performing tasks
- Difficulty in organizing tasks and activities
- Does not follow instruction and fail to finish duties
- Cannot perform tasks which requires mental effort
- Often loses things needed tasks for activities
- Forgetfulness in daily activities or routine work
Symptoms of impulsivity
- Cannot wait for his turn
- Answers before questions have been completed
- Often interrupts others
Symptoms of hyperactivity
- Fidgety of hands and feet
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Often leaves his seat in the classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Often is characterized as “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
- Often talks excessively
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings
- Clinically significant impairment in academic, social, or occupational functioning must be clearly evident
- Some symptoms that caused impairment were evident before age 7
- The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia, or another psychotic disorder and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder.
The following problems are often associated with ADHD, possibly stemming from the symptoms, or due to problems adjusting to the symptoms:
- Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
- Low self-esteem
- Employment problems
- Difficulty controlling anger
- Substance abuse or addition
- Poor organization skills
- Low frustration tolerance
- Chronic boredom
- Difficulty concentrating when reading
- Mood swings
- Relationship problems
Symptoms can vary from one individual to the next. Some individuals are outgoing and social while others can be withdrawn and antisocial. Some people can focus when really interested in something, whereas others cannot under any circumstance. Adults with ADHD may have had school related difficulties when younger, such as underachieving, frequent disciplinary action, repetition of grades, or history of dropping out.
Work related difficulties are manifest in frequent job changes, wanted or not wanted, and poor performance or lack of job advancement. Socially, symptoms include relationship problems, lower socioeconomic status, illegal substance use, nicotine use, and frequent driving violations.
Diagnosis of ADHD
Detail history of a child’s early development is required. The assessment begins by obtaining data from several sources, including the parents, teachers, and the child himself, with principal signs and symptoms, inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity and direct observation of the child, especially in situations which require sustained attention. The diagnosis of ADHD requires persistent, impairing symptoms of either hyperactivity/impulsivity or inattention that cause impairment in at least two different settings.
Complete psychological, medical, and neurological evaluations rule out other problems. Then the child undergoes tests that measure impulsiveness, attention, and ability to sustain a task. The combined findings portray a clear picture of the disorder.
In some areas, ADHD is under-diagnosed, but in other areas, it is clearly over-diagnosed. It is the physician’s obligation to perform substantive diagnoses that follow good practice guidelines, such as those set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sometimes, however, primary care providers don’t know enough about how to diagnose ADHD properly; other times, they simply don’t have enough time to do a good job amidst a busy day. That’s where parents and carers come in; if they are armed with knowledge and understanding of what makes a good diagnosis of ADHD such as the approved child behavior checklists and the need to obtain information on the child from multiple informants- they can help gather the relevant information or, where necessary, insist that the medical evaluation follow good practice guidelines.
Treatment for ADHD
Conventional Treatment and management of ADHD mainly include:
- Stress reduction
- Changes in life style
- Changes in dietary habits
- Medications such as – methylphenidate, clonidine, antidepressants
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Homeopathy Treatment of ADHD
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat ADHD but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat ADHD that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person.
Repertorisation of common symptoms gives remedies like
Belladonna, Cimicifuga, Calcarea flour, Lac caninum, Asafoetida, Carcinocin, Iodium, Lycopodium, Stannum, Medorrhinum, Kali brom, Tuberculinum, Tarantula hispanica, Saccharum officinalis, Cuprum met, Thuja, Zincum, Arnica, SIlica, Baryta carb, Coffea cruda, Veratrum album, Cina, Stramonium, Lachesis etc.
Tarentula hispanica: Hyperactive child, who enjoy rhythmic music. A child who is intelligent and witty yet may be sly, crafty, revengeful and malicious in her acts. Tarentula patients can enjoy giving pain and discomfort to others and derive a lot of pleasure out of it. May spit, scream or bite others.
Cina: Irritable temperament. The child cries when is touched, is averse to being caressed. Continual inquietude, with desire for things of all kinds, which are rejected some moment after. Disposition to be offended by trifling jests. Great anguish and anxiety on walking in the open air.
Tuberculinum: Hyperactivity, desire to travel; desires change. Aversion to mental work. Reckless. Fear of animals; of dogs. Weakness, emaciation with good appetite. Patient takes cold easily on slightest exposure.
Saccharum officinalis: Hyperactivity aggravated by sweets and chocolates.
Coffea cruda: Hyperactivity due to excessive mental activity.
Calcarea phos: Lean, thin tall children who are better when busy. Symptoms aggravate when they are free. Jerky movement of limbs. Delayed development and slow learning.
Arsenicum album: Patient is physically and mentally restless; anxiety; fear of disease, of death. Worse by cold in general.
Calcarea flour: Hyperactivity in children with poor brain development or brain injury/infarct.
Helleborus: Hyperactivity with reduced sensitivity to pain. Patients often do not respond to painful stimulus like injury, heat, fire, cold.
Cicuta: ADHD in children where there is history of epilepsy or convulsions.
Cuprum met: Hyperactivity in kids with history of cyanosis or convulsions.
Belladonna: Episodic hyperactivity with banging of head, flushed face, striking and biting.
Carcinocin: Timid shy child. Functional and understanding but hyperactive. Inclined towards arts. Feels happy with animals and in parks. Family history of cancer may be there.
Lycopodium: Hyperactive and violent behaviour at home. Socially acceptable behaviour in school. Poor attention and learning.