Brief Introduction to ADHD

We know that ADHD is a real neurological disorder, that is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Through PET scans, we are able to observe that people with ADHD have a lowered level of brain activity in parts of the brain.

Most ADHD (95%) is inherited, but it can also be caused by problems with pregnancy, delivery, early childhood severe illness, environmental toxins, etc.

The main symptoms of ADHD are, getting bored easily, acting fast without thinking first about consequences or alternatives, and being hyperactive.

Three main types of ADHD are diagnosed. One, which is primarily hyperactive and impulsive, one, which is primarily inattentive and one which is a combination of all three symptoms.

In addition to the three main symptoms, children with ADHD often have other characteristics, such as desiring immediate gratification. They want it, they want it now, and they are going to be in your face until you give in, become very angry, or they have a tantrum. Many of the children are oppositional, demanding and stubborn.

These children also tend to be immature. Twelve year olds are more like eight year olds, nine year olds are more like six year olds, etc.

Many characteristics can lead to problems with peer relationships. Many children with ADHD, end up playing with younger children, or getting into trouble out of the norm, and have no memory of what they have done, or why they are being punished. Hence the low self esteem.

The biggest concerns are the effects ADHD has on personality development. Children begin to think that they are stupid, uncontrollable and unlovable. These negative self beliefs lead to even greater problems, since we tend to act the way we think.

Most children may have some of the symptoms of ADHD. They are only diagnosed if the symptoms differ significantly from other children their age, and their developmental history supports the diagnosis. There are concerns, when those under-diagnosed, are having problems, that are handicapping the child's development and interfering with learning, relationships and self concept formation.

Current treatments of choice are a combination of medication and counseling. Stimulant medications stimulate brain activity, thus reducing the severity of the symptoms.

The purpose of counseling is to educate the child and family about ADHD, help the family create a more ADHD friendly environment, work on any developing personality problems and help to decrease parental depression and guilt.

We must ask the question - Are our young people misjudged or misunderstood? Are there any areas that they can go to release what frustration and anger in a controlled environment (supervised)? areas that can also help with the problem that they have with finding their self-esteem, help boost confidence? So they may be able to find people they can trust, that don't judge? To help them find a path in life for them? Instead of what they may lead them to other paths, such as the severe increase of youth drug / alcohol / substance abuse / early school drop-outs / crime and last but not least "suicide".

Children with ADHD, do not appear to addict to the medication, however we are now beginning to see teenagers and young adults, who are abusing the medications by mixing them with alcohol and other drugs and using them to stay up longer to party.

This trend might eventually affect the ability to use the medications, when they are really needed.