Although the recognition of ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) Awareness Month came to an end at the close of October, the disorder is still one that affects nearly 6 million children and adults nationwide according to 2015 statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Therefore, the Antelope Valley Hospital intends to have a free mental health lecture, “Paying Attention to ADHD” on Nov. 16 at the Community Resource Center, 44151 15th Street West in Lancaster, led by Syed Rizvi, M.D.
The hour-long lecture will explore:
• Definition, causes and diagnosis of ADHD.
• Myths and facts about ADHD.
• The difference between ADD and ADHD.
• Medication necessity and options.
If ADHD can be “outgrown.”
Challenges and opportunities for those with ADHD.
ADHD is a chronic condition that affects millions and includes a combination of persistent problems such as difficulty staying focused (often referred to as inattention), hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms.
Dr. Rizvi is a psychiatrist who offers medication and therapy treatment for many patients with ADHD, and while treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.
ADHD symptoms typically start before age 12 but in some youth become evident as early as three years old. According to Dr. Rizvi, “ADHD is more common in boys, yet doctors have not discovered exactly why girls are less likely to develop the condition. In children, ADHD is usually recognized during their elementary school years, as they begin to exhibit issues in class.”
For example, boys may be more hyperactive and girls may tend to be quietly inattentive.
According to information provided by the Mayo Clinic, there are three subtypes of ADHD:
Predominantly inattentive. The majority of symptoms fall under inattention.
Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. The majority of symptoms are hyperactive and impulsive.
Combined. The most common type in the U.S., this is a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
A child who shows a pattern of inattention may often:
Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork
Have trouble staying focused in tasks or play
Appear not to listen, even when spoken to directly
Have difficulty following through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork or chores
Have trouble organizing tasks and activities
Avoid or dislike tasks that require focused mental effort, such as homework
Hyperactivity and impulsivity
A child who shows a pattern of hyperactive and impulsive symptoms may often:
Fidget with or tap his or her hands or feet, or squirm in the seat
Have difficulty staying seated in the classroom or in other situations
Run around or climb in situations when it’s not appropriate
Have trouble playing or doing an activity quietly
Have difficulty waiting for his or her turn
Interrupt or intrude on others’ conversations, games or activities
Normal behavior vs. ADHD
It is relatively normal for most young children to exhibit inattention or hyperactivity from time to time as such behavior is the nature of childhood, constantly exploring and being distracted from one thing to the next. According to Dr. Rizvi, “Hyperactivity presents itself in the patient’s inability to stay calm or still when appropriate. When a child runs around, laughing and playing, on the playground, that is wholly appropriate. Yet, when they act the same way in the library or classroom, for example, it is inappropriate.”
Research suggests that children should never be classified as having ADHD just because they’re different from their friends or siblings as children naturally have differing levels of energy. Typically a child suffering from ADHD will have exhibited multiple symptoms consistently for six months or more.
“Children who have problems in school but get along well at home or with friends are likely struggling with something other than ADHD. The same is true of children who are hyperactive or inattentive at home, but whose schoolwork and friendships remain unaffected,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
While the exact cause of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is not clear, research efforts continue. Factors that may be involved in the development of ADHD include:
Genetics. ADHD can run in families, and studies indicate that genes may play a role.
Environment. Certain environmental factors, such as lead exposure, may increase risk.
Development. Problems with the central nervous system at key moments in development may play a role
Individuals who may be concerned that they themselves or their child shows signs of ADHD, or anyone who simply wants to get a deeper understanding of the disorder, the “Paying Attention to ADHD” mental health lecture could be a valuable resource. For more information, contact the Antelope Valley Hospital at (661) 949-5000.