Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behaviour disorder normally diagnosed in children, although adults can be diagnosed with it as well.
ADD is a condition that makes it very difficult, if not seemingly impossible for an individual to hold their attention for a typical length of time. It is quite literally a deficit in attention.
ADHD is very similar to ADD but also includes an individual’s inability to be still and involves constant moving or fidgeting.
In 1994, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM4, at that time) published by the American Psychiatric Association made the change for all forms of attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity disorder to be called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, even if the individual did not display signs of hyperactivity. However, ADHD is still often used together as ADD/ADHD.
From Centres for Disease Control and Prevention:
“There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which types of symptoms are strongest in the individual:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well”.
Undiagnosed ADHD can cause problems in school or in any number of settings.
Those with ADHD can act impulsively or have trouble concentrating, both of which can lead to poor decision making and coping skills.
Symptoms & signs of ADHD
Typical symptoms of ADHD can sometimes mimic other psychological disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and other learning disorders as well as allergies, grief and loss, and ongoing family or personal issues.
Symptoms and signs include:
- Inability to focus
- Being easily distracted
- High energy levels
- Inability to sit still
- Severe impatience
- Easily forgetting things
When is it time to get help?
If your child is struggling in school or in other areas of their life with the above symptoms, and you feel it’s impacting the quality of their life, then it’s time to get some support.
ADHD treatment methods
First of all, a proper assessment or diagnosis must be in place to diagnose ADHD. An assessment will be conducted by a licensed therapist who will then discuss a therapeutic plan with you and your child. There are several therapies that may work to help your child cope with ADHD including:
- Behavioural therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment, looking at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Mindfulness therapy is an approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves, others, and the world. The ability to be in the moment, to acknowledge and regulate your emotions helps you to break free from negative thought patterns.
- Family systems therapy looks at the family as one emotional unit. This therapeutic approach looks at the relationships within the family and the structure as a whole.
- Play therapy refers to a large number of treatment methods, all of which make use of one or more of the natural benefits of play, using toys, dolls, games, etc. Play allows children a safe psychological distance from their problems and allows them to express their true thought and feelings in ways best suited to their developmental level.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Having a diagnosis of ADHD can be helpful in learning how to manage symptoms. In addition to other treatments such as medications, diet changes, etc. seeing a therapist is an important part of treating and living with ADHD. Therapy can help to decrease impulsivity and help individuals with ADHD to reduce symptoms and the negative impact they may have. As a parent, you can learn how to support your child and look after your own mental health as well.
Insight Psychological has several convenient locations in Alberta. Please contact us today to learn more about your loved one’s ADHD.