What are some of the symptoms of ADHD:
Impulsive behavior-careless mistakes
Difficulty in controlling anger
Inability to complete tasks-difficulty sustaining attention towards tasks
Hyperactive behavior-excessive activity, fidgeting, squirming, running, climbing excessively
Poor listening skills
Talking excessively-blurting out answers before hearing the whole question.
ADHD most frequently is first initially addressed through the school system. Educators and psychologists recognize that the diagnosis of disorders such as ADHD is usually subjective, that is, it depends upon the interpretation of the one who is diagnosing the child and there is no accurate physical test such as a blood test or brain scan that can determine if a child has a disorder such as ADHD. Many times symptoms that are evident with an ADHD diagnosis can also manifest themselves in disorders such as bipolar disorder. One psychologist in a public school stated that "it is difficult to accurately diagnosis disorders such as ADHD and bipolar disorder in children, because the symptoms of the varying disorders overlap," the same symptoms manifest themselves in different disorders.
Prenatal exposure to drugs, alcohol and smoking
Prenatal exposure to some prescription drugs
Genetic factors-children may be born with a predisposition towards the symptoms of ADHD or depression. Environmental or social factors can contribute to the development of symptoms in certain children.
Environmental Contaminants: At times physical factors such as lead poisoning, mercury poisoning, or poor diet, excessive sugar can also be factors. It is possible that lead poisoning alone may account for 2% or more of the cases of ADHD.
Diet may account or contribute to up to 5% to 10% ADHD in both children and adults.
At times, perhaps often, children who have been sexually abused have mistakenly been treated for the purely physically symptoms associated with ADHD. Also, sleep disorders have also been mistakenly treated with medications for ADHD in children. In cases of sexual abuse, a support team and therapy is what is most important for a child to recover from this trauma.
Of encouragement for parents of children who have ADHD is that with over 50% of children and teenagers with mild to moderate symptoms of ADHD, such symptoms are outgrown when they are older, without the need for any medical intervention.
Excessive time spent with electronic stimuli may be a contributing factor.
Many children spend between 2-6.5 hours a day on the media, that is television, movies, video games, Internet, iPods, etc. (Time magazine-Nov 2003.) "Are our children too wired?") Many times teenagers multitask. When watching TV, talking on the cell phone, or using the computer or iPod for emails. If this is taken into consideration, one study rates the actual average time spent by teenagers as over 8 hours a day.
Television - the fast paced imagery of television, regardless of the content is said to have a connection, within a reasonable degree of certainty, with attentional problems. This is especially true with regards to young children. One study concluded that for every hour a child watched television, his or her chances of manifesting the symptoms of ADHD as an older children increased by 18%. The content of what children watch also may have a bearing on their ability to concentrate, something that has not yet been clinically studied.
Movies - Some children watch between one and three movies daily, every day or as many as five or six movies in a single weekend. Fast paced action movies, movies that feature the macabre or occult, scary movies, overwhelming violent movies for children in kindergarten, or the first, second or third grades, can overwhelm their senses, and leave them both emotionally vulnerable, as well as make it difficult to concentrate on regular school work or "sit still" in class.
Video Games-Boys especially can be susceptible to long hours daily on video games. Video games can be addictive. During a classroom discussion on anxiety, one teacher commented that children don't really need video games, as 5th grade students spoke of having two or three different types of video game units each. A school psychologist who had preteenage children or her own and who also regularly works with children who have the symptoms known as ADHD, says that after reading about the adverse psychological and possible adverse physical effects that video games can have on children and teenagers, she took video games totally out of her home. Her children are of college age today
One reading coach who works with learning disabled children, many of whom have difficulties with ADHD says that the first thing she encourages parents to do is to take children off a high sugar diet. A poor diet is said to contribute to the intensity of symptoms for children with ADHD or it may be partially responsible for 5% to 10% of cases, according to one source. Obesity among children is also of concern to many professionals and parents in recent years. Food additives such may effect some children. A low sugar diet by avoiding sugars found in sugary cereals, soda, chocolate, flavored mild, candy, ice cream, cakes, sugary juices, etc. can be of some help for general health, weight loss and a more active lifestyle, as well as a child's ability to concentrate.
Children need breakfast, as this can effect their ability to concentrate in school. At times, schools need to facilitate better nutrition in the menus, cutting back on high sugar and processed foods. Some school systems and parents groups have worked together in formulating more nutritious meals for children, which can contribute to better classroom performance and behavior. A healthy breakfast is a must for both young children and teenagers whose bodies are rapidly developing. Natural snacks such as fruit, wholewheat crackers with little added sugar, raw vegetables and other natural foods are a healthy alternative to high sugar snack foods.
Children need limits: One educational psychologist concerned with what she described as "the epidemic" of ADHD cases in her school encouraged parents to set limits for children in terms of TV, video game and movie time. Parents need to send loving and firm limits. Also, recommended education for parents is recommended, to help parents to fulfill their roles and to direct their children so as to effective with the many pressures that families and children finds themselves subject to these days.
Sleep disorders:Children who are having trouble sleeping are often diagnosed with ADHD. There can be many reasons that children are having difficulty sleeping. One counselor recommends a "wind down" period, one-hour before going to bed. Also, keeping the television out of the bedroom can be of help for many children. Making sure children to not view stimulating movies or play stimulating video games before bedtime can be of help to many. Children need exercise, as do adults. Healthy outdoor activities are said to help many children both with symptoms of ADHD , with depression, and with the ability to sleep better at night.
Green Therapy: Richard Louv's recent book concerning Nature Deficit Disorder relates that children have experienced a serious decrease in the amount of time in natural surroundings. Psychology Today reported that children who spend time in the outdoors exercising or playing, experience a marked decrease in symptoms of ADHD. This can be true for depression as well.
Children need time, attention and LOVE
One of our greatest emotional needs is love. Without love, psychological problems are bound to increase.
Many children who have ADHD do come from very loving families and homes. This gives such children a wonderful edge to cope with the difficulties that accompany ADHD.
Children need unconditional love, as well as the approval of their parents, of their teachers and from others. Parents need to spend time with their children, to help them with their homework, to give loving but firm boundaries and to protect them from harmful influences. This takes time and effort.
The television is not a good babysitter. One educator said of her preschool students, in deep concern, with some frustration, "these children don't need medicine, they need patience and love."