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Understanding ADHD: Causes

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What actually causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

 Over the years, the exact causes of ADHD have been unclear. However, genetics is generally known to be a major cause in most cases, although, other factors may contribute as well.

Genetics and ADHD

genetic-testing-300x199Research studies by Thapar et al, 2006; and Faraone et al, 2005 revealed that genetics could be a likely cause of ADHD. This indicates that ADHD has strong genetic ties. In other words, ADHD could be passed from parents to children through genes.

Twin studies also revealed that parents and siblings of children with ADHD are four to five times more likely to have the disorder as compared to people who are not related to someone with ADHD. This means that a child with ADHD may not be the only one with the disorder in the family.

ADD_&_ADHD

Other factors that could contribute to the development of ADHD include the following

  • The chemical imbalance of the brain. This inhibits the brain from performing its ‘executive functions’ such as problem solving, planning, memory recall, attention and focus.Alcohol_in_pregnancy_copy
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain damage before or after birth
  • Alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Smoking and misuse of drugs during pregnancy
  • Exposure to toxic lead at a tender age
  • Family environment. A dysfunctional family may increase the chances of a child developing ADHD

 

Remember to follow me on twitter @DrMorayoJimoh for more interesting updates on #LetstalkaboutADHD


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Understanding ADHD: Types and Characteristics of ADHD

Mixed Race boy throwing paper airplane in class

John, an 11 year old boy diagnosed with ADHD is rarely organized,

easily loses focus, doesn’t really talk so much but thinks before acting.

While Tina, another child with ADHD is quite organized,

but talks a whole lot, acts impulsively and very restless.

On the other hand, Sammy also diagnosed with ADHD is disorganized,

acts before thinking, hyperactive and talks too much.

 

The question that comes to mind here is,

“Why do they all exhibit different characteristics despite being diagnosed with the same disorder?”

This is because Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is generally known to have three subtypes which are:

  • The predominantly inattentive subtype
  • The predominantly hyperactive/impulsive subtype
  • The combined subtype.

The signs and symptoms exhibited by individuals with ADHD largely depends on the predominance of a particular characteristic.

There are 3 key characteristics of ADHD which are Inattention, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity.

Simply put;

A child that has the predominantly inattentive subtype of ADHD will majorly manifest the signs and symptoms of inattention such as:

  • Inability to pay attention to tasksgirl-daydreaming-rex
  • Poor focus
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Poor listening skills
  • Delay in processing information
  • Carelessness and forgetfulness
  • Getting bored easily
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Persistent daydreaming

While another child with the Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive subtype of ADHD will majorly exhibit the signs and symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity such as:Hyperactive child

  • Restlessness
  • Impatience
  • Making impulsive decisions
  • Talkativeness
  • Inability to sit still.
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fidgeting/Squirming

Finally, a child with the combined subtype of ADHD will generally exhibit the signs and symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive subtypes.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), most children have the combined type.

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Remember to follow me on twitter @DrMorayoJimoh for more interesting updates on

#LetstalkaboutADHD


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Understanding ADHD: Facts and Myths

 

ADHD (1)

Over the years, so much has been said concerning ADHD which are merely misconceptions about the disorder. Some have thought of it as a result of bad upbringing, while others have thought about it as the individual’s fault; they believe those with ADHD behave in certain ways to purposely annoy or to avoid school work and  other given tasks. Also, some feel those with ADHD should be given harsh discipline in order to overcome such condition.

 As parents, care givers, teachers, siblings of individuals with ADHD and also those with ADHD , it is important that we have adequate knowledge about the disorder and be able to distinguish between mere myths and true facts about ADHD.

Highlighted below are some of the common misconceptions or myths on ADHD and the facts that refute them.

#1

Myth: Children with ADHD are just lazy

Fact: They are not lazy. They work as hard as other kids and may even work twice as hard but their results may be hindered by their condition.  

#2

Myth: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.

Fact: It is a brain based disorder which often results in some learning and behavioural difficulties. It is also one of the most common childhood disorders.

#3

Myth: ADHD is Gender-specific. Only boys have it.Girl with ADHD

Fact: It is not a gender-specific disorder as it affects both boys and girls.

#4

Myth: Sugar causes ADHD

Fact: Sugar increases energy levels and can induce hyperactivity in individuals with ADHD but it is not the cause of ADHD.

#5

Myth: ADHD results from bad parenting practices.

Fact: Though the symptoms of ADHD can be improved or worsened by parenting practices, ADHD is not caused by bad parenting.

#6

Myth: ADHD is prevalent among hyperactive children.

Fact: Although, hyperactivity is a common symptom experienced by individuals with ADHD, individuals that are less hyperactive can have the Inattentive subtype of ADHD.

#7

Myth: A person with ADHD isn’t vulnerable to any other conditions.

 Fact: A person with ADHD is actually predisposed to other conditions such as conduct disorder and anxiety disorders.

#8

Myth: Children with ADHD don’t become successful adults.

Fact: ADHD isn’t a hindrance to success in life. Actually, many successful and popular icons were diagnosed with ADHD such as Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln.

Adhd brain smWhen next someone tells you one of the above mentioned myths, you sure will have the right facts to debunk them. Kindly follow me @DrMorayoJimoh for more interesting updates on #LetstalkaboutADHD and share other myths you’ve heard as well.


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Understanding ADD/ADHD

Multiethnic Arms Raised Holding ADHD

When you hear ADD or ADHD, what comes to your mind?

Well, throughout the month of June, I shall be sharing very interesting information about ADD/ADHD such as what ADD/ADHD means, myths and facts about ADD/ADHD, types, causes, signs/characteristics, diagnosis, prevalence, management, clinical interventions, parenting tips, adult ADD/ADHD and successful people with ADHD. I bet you’re wondering how someone with ADHD can become successful in life right?  Trust me, it’s going to be an interesting month.

What is ADD/ADHD???

ADD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Disorder, while ADHD represents Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Let’s break this down a little bit:

A-      Attention refers to the ability or will to keep the mind on something in particular i.e being able to focus on ADHDsomething, usually for a period of time.

D-      Deficit means an inadequacy, insufficiency or lack of the ability to perform a given task.

H-      Hyperactivity simply means activity level which is above normal range.

D-      Disorder refers to a mental or physical interruption of normal functioning.

 

ADD/ADHD is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder which results in difficulty sustaining attention, problems with executive functions (ability to plan) and inability to control certain behaviours.

ADD/ADHD affects academic performance and social relationships and it is one of the most common childhood disorders which can span through adolescence and adulthood.

Young, sad boy sitting at desk over piece of paper with pencil in hand. Looking at camera, front view

There have been quite a number of myths about ADD/ADHD, am sure you’ve heard about some also. In the next article, we shall be checking out some interesting myths and facts about ADD/ADHD.

Kindly follow me @DrMorayoJimoh and let’s talk about ADHD


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Possessed, Insane or SPECIAL?

Special childrenIn those days and maybe even now, the uneducated or superstitious would say  they are demon possessed,  others refer to them as witches,  the “educated” but uninformed may refer to them as abnormal, or maybe disabled or mentally retarded, but we call them SPECIAL.. and they are Special

Yes Special!

These children are indeed special. Beyond the difficulties they and their caretakers or parents face, these children are a true source of joy to the heart. They make you smile, they make you laugh, they make you cry and they make your wonder how great God is. black child An expectation of birth comes with gladness that is immediately dwindled with the sudden realization that the child carried for 9 months may have a developmental disorder that would affect his/her quality of life.  Some of these disorders such as Down Syndrome which is caused by an abnormality in the genes may be detected at birth while some others cannot be detected prior to birth.

downDevelopmental disabilities are a group of physical or mental conditions that children may present with as a result of an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. They have a low to average Intelligent Quotients (IQ)  and may have difficulties in social and communicative behavior. Learning and teaching proves a herculean task for the children and teachers respectively.These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning and may improve as the child grows older but usually last throughout a lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or birth complications, trauma to the brain etc. Early detection and intervention play key roles in helping children with developmental disorders. Usually a delay in speech, motor and physical development may indicate the presence of such disorders. Parents and Teachers need to consult professionals in the field of special education should they observe a delay or disturbing behaviour or symptom.

You may ask how does this concern me. You probably feel you have other problems to deal with. Whether or not you are directly involved with children with developmental disabilities, you have a role to play.

Firstly, these children are often stigmatized and labelled by society because they are considered different from the norm.  They are excluded from mainstream education, holding a job is even more difficult and people believe that they have no potential. Parents may also be frustrated and may not give the necessary care, love and encouragement the children need. Every member of the society needs to learn to accept their differences as unique qualities, after all we are all different people, even twins have observed differences. This is a call to accept and embrace children with developmental disorders as Autism, Down Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, and other disorders.

Secondly, people are not aware that these disabilities are genetically caused. Like the title suggests, some people feel they are demon possessed or witches and that’s why you need to help in spreading the word.

Did you know that Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokémon had Autism?

They have great and unique potentials

Only look beyond their disabilities.   kids-smiling Be a VOICE to Children with Special Needs.

They need YOU.

They need ME.

They need LOVE.

Be  their VOICE.

Happy Global Autism Awareness Day.

Always remember, they are Special Children!

Spread the word by sharing this article


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Neurofeedback as an alternative treatment for children with ADHD

Hyperactive, distractible and restless are words that describe young David (not real name), a 6 year old boy who was unable to learn as much as his peers and didn’t like school’

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Drugs are believed to be the main solution to many physical illnesses and psychological disorders, whereas recent advancement in technology has proved otherwise. Just like David, many children who have maladaptive behavioral tendencies resulting from genetic or biological complications and have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may benefit  not only from medications which are likely to give side effects but a new innovative treatment solution called neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback manages the symptoms of ADHD in line with the principle of the biological causal factors of the disorder. Lubar (1991), reported that children with ADHD have abnormal brain wave activity, showing a predominance of slow waves (theta) as opposed to fast waves (sensorimotor rhythm, beta). Children with ADHD find it difficult to sit still and pay attention. They could also be impulsive and hyperactive. Therefore, the aim of neurofeedback training would be to train those aspects of the brain eliciting slow waves and help them achieve focused attention and concentration.

neurofeedback

Training and altering the brain wave pattern is a delicate process and needs to be handled by a certified practitioner. In a typical session, sensors are placed on the scalp to monitor and train brain wave activity at specific points on the brain while a feedback is given back to the child though video games, animations and auditory cues via the computer. The child’s performance on the video game is premised on meeting predetermined thresholds of brain activity. David’s central cortex and the pre-frontal cortex were mostly trained to increase sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) which will enable him stay focused, alert and able to learn. Thus, as clients continue in the therapy sessions, they are able to reduce their slow wave activity and/or increase their fast wave activity even after the completion.

A 2005 study by Monastra, Lynn, Linden, Lubar, Gruzelier, and LaVaque reported that children with ADHD who underwent neurofeedback therapy experienced better behavioral control, an increase in attention level, improved intelligence quotients and academic performance, when compared to another group who did not undergo this therapy procedure.

David received a total of 52 sessions though a significant improvement was noticed after the 40th session. David was able to focus, concentrate, stay calm and complete his school homeworks independently and enthusiastically.

The long term results of neurofeedback therapies are remarkable. With no side effects whatsoever, the changes made to the brain wave patterns are permanent and will help such children lead normal lives and equally give them the opportunity to learn as much as other children can. Great potentials exist with this treatment modality in helping not just children with behavioral disorders but those with learning difficulties.

REFERENCES

Lubar, J. F. (1991). Discourse on the development of EEG diagnostics and biofeedback treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders.Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 16, 201-225.

Monastra, V. J., Lynn, S., Linden, M., Lubar, J.F., Gruzelier, J., & LaVaque, T. J. (2005). Electroencephalographic Biofeedback in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Vol. 30(2) 2, 95-114