What is ADHD?ADHD or ADD is the abbreviation for the so-called attention deficit syndrome, which is also referred to in the jargon as hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder.
ADHD or ADD is the abbreviation for the so-called attention deficit syndrome, which is also referred to in the jargon as hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD is found frequently and especially in children. As a mental disorder, attention deficits and greatly increased impulsivity occur as symptoms.
Most ADHD boys are affected. But there are also girls who show signs of ADHD. The severity of the symptoms varies from individual to individual. It is estimated that around three to ten percent of children have ADHD. In the past, ADHD was also referred to as Minimal Cerebral Dysfunction or Psychoorganic Syndrome.
According to the latest scientific knowledge, various factors are decisive for the development of ADHD. In this context, one speaks of a multifactorial conditional disturbance picture. The tendency to develop ADHD in childhood is also inherited.
In addition to hereditary conditions, environmental conditions and psychosocial factors may play a role in the development of ADHD. In plain language, this means that even the environment in which the child grows has an influence on whether the genetic disposition to ADHD actually manifests itself and how severe this expression is. The fact that ADHD is diagnosed much more often today than in the past can also be due to the changed living conditions.
Among other things, this is due to the sensory overload caused by the oversupply of media stimuli, for example through the Internet, computer games and television. It used to be thought that childhood trauma, neglect and parenting were the main cause of ADHD. But that is only partially true.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
ADHD is characterized by the three main symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity and impulsivity. It already occurs in children under the age of seven. The symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe. They persist for at least six months, but often persist until well into adulthood.
The attention deficits are expressed among others by the following symptoms. The child often makes careless mistakes, can not pay attention to details, can not concentrate on tasks, does not listen to the response, can not follow instructions, is messy, unpunctual, often avoids mental effort, is forgetful, easily distracts and often loses items. The impulsiveness and hyperactivity are manifested by constant restlessness, running around, rumbling, a lot of talking and impatience.
In addition, the child can not sit still, acts as if driven and disturbs other children or adults constantly. Due to the attention disorders, the school performance is often bad. However, hyperactivity and impulsivity can also lead to creative thoughts and actions. Furthermore, those affected are often helpful and enthusiastic, which can also promote positive development opportunities.
In addition to the main symptoms may also occur other symptoms that do not occur in all children. Thus, in patients with ADHD, the likelihood of social disorder disorders, partial performance disorders such as reading-spelling weakness, anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and sleep disorders is increased.
Recognizing the course of the disease as ADHD is relatively difficult. For even trained educators it is not easy to distinguish a sickly hyperactive child from a bright one. So it is for a child in preschool age an increased need for exercise completely normal.
The limits of what is normal and what is abnormal are therefore not always clearly definable. For example, around one-third of preschool children show signs of ADHD, at least to some extent. In people with ADHD, impulse control and self-regulation are disturbed. As a result, there is an increasing conflict with teachers, classmates and parents. ADHD sufferers are unable to defer their needs and motivate themselves. The ability to concentrate is sometimes severely impaired.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is commonly found in children, which can have many psychological consequences throughout their lives. At a young age, it is difficult for affected individuals to focus on one thing. Children prefer to play with other things. In addition, a speech development disorder is often observed.
Children can not articulate properly with other children and adults. Due to the high demand for rest and concentration in the school and in the kindergarten, the children are usually overwhelmed and the benefits decrease as a result. In addition, sufferers suggest a disturbance of fine motor skills, the children therefore have an illegible font.
The affected children and adolescents are usually also characterized by a more aggressive behavior, which creates problems in establishing social contacts. They are socially isolated and this can lead to psychological consequences later. Depression is not uncommon. Those affected show a riskier life and often resort to alcohol or even tougher drugs.
An addiction develops, which affects not only the quality of life, but also professional and family life. In addition, the everyday life is totally unplanned and not structured. In the worst cases, suicidal thoughts come about because of depression. The fellow human beings as well as the partner are also affected, since the partner often tends to fierce attacks in tantrums.
When should you go to the doctor?
If ADHD is suspected, it makes sense to visit not only the pediatrician, but also a specialist. Possible contacts are also psychotherapists or psychologists - especially those who specialize in ADHD. In addition, some counseling centers and outpatient clinics offer competent diagnosis and treatment for ADHD.
The symptoms of ADHD can also be related to other mental and social problems. If the symptoms are a reaction to stress or a clear burden (eg bereavement), a medical or psychological assessment is usually not immediately necessary. The situation is different when the symptoms last longer or cause severe restrictions at home and (especially in children) at school.
Often the diagnosis of ADHD is made to primary school children. The symptoms typically appear before school age.
Adults can also consult a doctor, psychologist or psychotherapist if they have the mental symptoms typical of ADHD. However, the symptoms are often less pronounced in adults. When ADHD is not diagnosed until adulthood, the symptoms have usually been present for years, often since early childhood. However, treatment with medication and psychotherapeutic methods is possible at any age and can lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life.
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Treatment & Therapy
ADHD is mostly diagnosed during special tests. These include a concentration test and an intelligence test. After the diagnosis of ADHD, the treatment goal is to eliminate the accompanying disorders and to develop social skills. Different treatment steps are carried out simultaneously. For example, psychotherapy is often combined with special coaching and the gift of pharmaceutical preparations.
The type of treatment chosen depends on the severity of ADHD. The therapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. If the symptoms are particularly severe, then the treatment can also be done in a day clinic, in a home or in a group. Older children as well as adolescents and adults can also alleviate ADHD with the help of autogenic training.
In moderate to severe cases, medication may also be given. These are often stimulants to affect the dopamine metabolism of the brain, ultimately improving self-control ability.
Outlook & Forecast
An attention disorder can be very different. If the deficit is recognized early and treated therapeutically and medically, the symptoms usually decrease and those affected can lead a relatively normal life. Professional support greatly improves the chances of a complete cure.
If the attention deficit is not or insufficiently treated, it can lead to problems in everyday life. Especially children with ADHD have difficulty finding their way around the social environment. Often sufferers develop other mental disorders, learning disabilities or tics. In the further course, anxiety disorders and depression can occur and worsen the general prognosis.
Generally, however, the prognosis for ADHD is good. Provided that the therapy is suitable, the symptoms can gradually be reduced and finally disappear completely during the course of life. Typical symptoms such as impaired concentration and hyperactivity usually decrease automatically with increasing age. Nevertheless, an attention deficit disorder must always be treated with medication and as part of therapeutic measures to avoid a negative outcome.
ADHD disappears in some of the children over the years. Since they no longer have complaints, there is usually no reason for follow-up. However, this has to be seen against the background that the syndrome is actually not curable. The situation is different for just over 60 percent of the patients. ADHD has been around for a lifetime. They are treated by behavioral therapy and medication. They should be allowed a full social life.
Aftercare can not be used by most sufferers to prevent recurrence. ADHD is permanent. Rather, it's about helping the sufferer and preventing complications. Last threatens equally in the workplace and in private life. How this succeeds, one can not generalize. Doctors have to individually coordinate therapies and medications. Depending on their characteristics, they create a network of relief measures.
Primary contact person is the family doctor. He not only prescribes recipes, but also involves the parents. Because they interact most with those affected and are legally responsible for their minor children, their everyday experience with ADHD is critical. The aftercare to avoid complications takes place mainly on an outpatient basis.
You can do that yourself
Depending on the severity of the attention deficit syndrome, there are different possibilities for the person concerned to optimize his or her everyday life by structuring measures for themselves. For example, self-established rules, the observance of which itself and also by caregivers, should be monitored. In the case of ADHD, it is good if the behavior results in immediate praise or consequences.
An open communication of misconduct in a single situation sharpens the consciousness of those affected and thus contributes to the fact that border violations become rarer. However, this does not work against the basic symptoms of ADHD. Here, the responsibility is usually in everyday life with parents and teachers.
For the person concerned, in situations where concentration is required, it is good to create a low-stimulus environment. So homework and the like should take place in a designated place, which is equipped only with the essentials and quiet. A clear schedule, which regulates breaks and working hours, also helps.
Learning the method of self-instruction training also supports the person concerned in his ability to complete the task. Five cognitive steps help to work in a structured and goal-oriented way. Furthermore, it has been shown that athletic training can reduce the impulsiveness and the self-assessment of people with ADHD is improved by the immediate feedback of mistakes and successes.