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Understanding ADHD.


ATTENTION deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that most commonly affects children and adolescents. Symptoms typically appear between three and six years of age. Different studies have estimated that ADHD affects between 5% and 10% of children, with boys being three times more likely to receive a diagnosis than girls.

The symptoms of ADHD fall into two main categories: inattentiveness and hyperactivity. The main signs of inattentiveness are difficulty concentrating, being easily distracted, having difficulty organising and sticking to tasks, forgetfulness and difficulty listening and carrying out instructions.

Hyperactivity is often displayed through excessive physical movements and an inability to stay still, being fidgety, talking a lot and impulsively acting without thinking.

Symptoms can cause problems in daily life such as interfering with progress at school, difficulties making and maintaining relationships and problems with discipline. Symptoms often improve with age, although some people continue to experience related difficulties into adulthood.

As with many behavioural and psychological disorders, it is not fully understood what exactly causes ADHD. Biological factors such as genetics and brain structure are thought to play a role. For example, ADHD can run in families and some research has shown that certain areas of the brain may be a different size in people with ADHD.

Studies have also shown that being born prematurely, having epilepsy or sustaining a brain injury can also increase the risk of developing ADHD.

In terms of treatment, medication, therapy or a combination of both can help. Medications aren't a permanent cure but for some people can help reduce symptoms, making it easier to concentrate and feel calmer.

Talking therapies can also help children with ADHD and their families to understand the condition, learn ways of managing challenging behaviours and manage the worry and stress that living with ADHD can cause.

Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of the condition means that children with ADHD are often labelled as disruptive and naughty and punished or ostracised rather than receiving the additional support they need. Living with ADHD can be hard at times for both children and their families but encouraging understanding of the condition, accessing local support services and connecting with other people who are having similar experiences can all help.

For more information, advice and support you can visit the National Attention Deficit Disorder Support Service website at Dr Ellie Milby is a counselling psychologist


Youngsters with ADHD may struggle to concentrate

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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:May 22, 2019
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