ADHD: Symptoms and Treatment

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is the primary reason we often wonder about a child's excessive activity or lack of concentration in school. Despite its prevalence and impact on many children, in some cases, there is a diagnosis of this disorder. In this article, I will talk about this disorder, how it is diagnosed, and the ways to manage it.

Mona Youssri Psychologist
Dr. Mona Youssri
Published on:Dec 12th 2023 |Updated on:Feb 10th 2024
علاج فرط الحركة وتشتت الانتباه

What is ADHD?

Before 1980, the diagnosis of ADHD as a disorder was unknown to experts. It's essential to note that it is not a significant concern that significantly affects a child's life, especially with early support and guidance from specialists. Some experts call this disorder "boredom disorder," where a child moves excessively and lacks focus when bored, disinterested in school, or engaged in unstimulating activities. Often, children with ADHD exhibit high intelligence, skills, and distinctive creativity. Some theories and speculations suggest that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder possess the "explorer genes," directing their excess curiosity and activity towards creativity and excellence. Therefore, it is crucial not to upset the child by negatively commenting on behaviors different from other children. It is also essential not to fit the child into a mold to avoid stifling their potential for brilliance.

When can ADHD be diagnosed in children?

I do not recommend evaluating and diagnosing ADHD in children before the age of six to avoid misdiagnosis and unfair treatment. Before this age, it is crucial to train parents and teachers in kindergarten to handle a child's excessive movement and activity. Instead of being frustrated with the child's behavior, which affects the child's confidence, this proactive approach prevents rebellion and misbehavior in response to frustration, potentially leading to behavioral disorders. For example, in my practice, I've encountered a child who showed interest only in activities involving water, enjoying observing objects floating or sinking. He felt bored during other activities. In such cases, the school should include a water-based activity during the child's school day to reward good behavior and attention during class.

Causes

There is no clear cause for ADHD in children except for some genetic factors. Despite theories about screen exposure and sugar consumption as causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, these factors worsen symptoms rather than causing the disorder. Increased awareness of this disorder and more opportunities for diagnosis contribute to more reported cases.

Treatment for ADHD

The first step towards successful treatment is consulting a psychiatrist or a licensed psychological therapist specializing in children's mental health. Avoid relying on online sources. After a thorough assessment, a clear and accurate diagnosis will guide the need for medication, behavioral therapy with medication, or behavioral therapy alone. Treatment options vary depending on the individual case, as ADHD is a spectrum disorder with many differences. The specialized team then creates a treatment plan tailored to the child's needs. Successful treatment often requires collaboration between parents, school, and the mental health professional. The child is taught skills to increase self-confidence, cope with different emotions, manage excessive activity, and discover their talents.

Schools and ADHD

Parents often embark on the journey of discovering their children's ADHD after receiving multiple complaints from the school, where teachers frequently express concerns about the child's hyperactivity. Sometimes, the child indeed has this disorder and requires a treatment plan from specialists. In other cases, all the school needs to do is understand what helps the child focus and provide it without ranking them with their peers. Therefore, I always advise choosing a school that appreciates the individual differences in children and can effectively deal with them. The school should be capable and prepared to handle ADHD and other childhood disorders.

Dealing with children with ADHD is not easy, but it's not impossible. It requires flexibility, acceptance of the child's hyperactivity, and collaboration between teachers and mental health professionals. This collaboration is crucial for the child's treatment success, behavior improvement, and increased focus.

I recommend the continuous presence of a mental health specialist or certified counselor in schools, especially given the increasing mental health problems in children of various ages, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many children suffer from multiple disorders besides ADHD, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and other childhood and adolescent disorders. This underscores the need to train teachers in handling these cases effectively.

 

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Mona Youssri Psychologist
Dr. Mona YoussriClinical Psychologist

Dr. Mona is a licensed psychologist and family counselor at the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai. She is an APA (American Psychological Association), MEPA member (Middle East Psychological Association), and ACAMH member. She is also a lifetime member of the International Honor Society in Psychology (PSI CHI). Dr. Mona is also a certified trainer and corporate Coach with a Master of Arts in Psychology from the American University Cairo. She diagnoses and treats children with behavioral problems using play therapy and behavioral management techniques.

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