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Attention deficit disorder: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About attention deficit disorder

Attention deficit disorder is a neuro-psychiatric disorder of children characterized by behavioural and learning disabilities.

Attention deficit disorder: Incidence, age and sex

Attention deficit disorder is a common disorder seen in children. It is not clear whether this disorder has a gender bias but it has been documented more in boys than in girls.

Signs and symptoms of attention deficit disorder: Diagnosis

The clinical features of attention deficit disorder include broad categories, namely reduced attention span, inability to focus, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour:

  • Reduced attention span- a child may be easily bored and may not stick to one activity for more than a few minutes. He/she fails to listen to instructions and is unable to adhere to rules and regulations.
  • Inability to focus- Impaired organizational skills, learning difficulties and incomplete assignments signify reduced focussing.
  • Hyperactivity- The child may be fidgety, restless, talk incessantly and unable to remain seated in one place. When such symptoms occur, the disorder is called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Impulsive Behaviour- Unruly behaviour and emotional outbursts are common.

The clinical features may progress to adulthood or wane with time. Certain conditions like learning disorder, depression or mania may be associated with this disorder.

Causes and prevention of attention deficit disorder

The cause of attention deficit disorder is not yet known. Some clinical studies have shown increased incidence of attention deficit disorder in children exposed to cigarette smoke and alcohol during the intra-uterine period. Both genetic and environmental factors may play a role in its causation but no confirmatory studies have been done so far.

Attention deficit disorder: Complications

There are various social and psychological consequences of attention deficit disorder like poor school performance, learning disability and psychological stress. It may result in negative impact on work performance and social relationships.

Attention deficit disorder: Treatment

Several treatment modalities like medications, psychotherapy and special education may improve the skills of the child and help him/her lead a successful life. Medications include stimulant drugs which are effective and beneficial in most people. Such drugs need regular monitoring of the dose in order to prevent adverse effects and increase efficacy. Both behavioural and cognitive therapy may help such individuals. Special educational tools play a significant role in superseding the learning disorders. A strong and persistent family support significantly helps in enhancing the benefits of the above mentioned treatment.