The most commonly diagnosed psychiatric condition in children and adolescents, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a challenging but manageable disorder. Generally diagnosed in patients under seven years old, this disorder can easily follow someone for the rest of his life. Those affected have considerable difficulties in school, social situations and in certain areas of daily functioning. When untreated, ADHD can have a negative impact on the mental health and well being of both the affected person and those that care of them, by causing stress, low self esteem and social difficulties that can carry far into adult life. Academic success suffers, relationships become difficult to maintain and the resulting low self-esteem can trigger depression and anxiety disorders. Thankfully, research has shown that will the right combination of treatments, the symptoms of this disorder can be minimized and managed. Specific medications have been developed that can get this complicated disorder under control and in combination with behavioural therapy and lifestyle changes, those affected by ADHD can not only function but excel in every aspect of their personal and professional lives. If any of the following apply to you or to someone in your care, seeking the appropriate medical help can make a massive difference in quality of life.
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Treatment of ADHD
Although the exact origins of ADHD are unknown, scientists have determined some environmental factors that can have an impact on its development. Genetics play a strong part in the disorder as do exposure to certain toxins in utero such as cigarette smoke, alcohol and environmental toxins. Symptoms begin in childhood and if caught early enough, can be treated and managed in order to ensure the subjects happiness and success. Unfortunately many children are undiagnosed and can be plagued with difficulties through their lives. The treatment for ADHD remains the same even if it is not put into affect until adulthood and significant improvement can still be seen, no matter what age.
After diagnosis, the first stage of treatment is generally medication. Currently, doctors are choosing to medicate with either stimulants or non-stimulant based treatments. There is a 70-80% success rate with the stimulant medications, which, after the correct dose is reached, can offer relief in 30 - 60 minutes. However, the prevalence of side effects from these meds is troubling when used with young children. Many parents choose the non-stimulant medications that have far less side effects, but only stay in the system for a short amount of time. These drugs can take up to seven weeks to reach maximum efficacy.
When the right medication is found, the next step is behavioural therapy. Working with family and professional therapists to develop routines, limit choices, focus on organization and ensure that positive discipline and reward systems are in place can make a major difference in a child's success. In fact, many professionals feel that making positive changes in routine and environment can have a massive impact on the well being of any child struggling with ADHD.
Post Treatment of ADHD
There is no reason for any one to suffer with this condition. Although it can never be 'cured', it can certainly be managed with early intervention, medication and lifestyle changes. About one third of all children diagnosed with ADHD will 'grow out' of the condition and can discontinue the medication and therapy when the symptoms disappear. Other cases will be chronic and last throughout their lives but with continual medication carefully monitored by doctors and the right therapy, there is no reason not to enjoy life and excel in all endeavours.
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