ADHD stands for Attention deficit hyperactivity and impulsiveness disorder. It is noticed in children of 6 to 12 years of age. It is a group of behavioral symptoms that includes hyperactivity, impulsive nature and inattentiveness. These children may also face sleep disorders, restlessness which are normal in that age, but if you see any behavioral changes compared to other children of similar ages, then it is the time to approach a specialist doctor.
ADHD is considered as a hereditary disease, which can run in close relatives.
Factors which have a role in ADHD are
- Premature birth of the baby – before 37 weeks
- Babies with low birth weight
- If the mother was a smoker or on alcohol or on drugs during pregnancy.
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
Symptoms of ADHD:
- Inattentive, does not seem to listen and ignores
- Constantly blabbering
- Constantly asking questions
- Constantly hyperactive
- Loses interest in things very fast
- Lacking attention
Types of ADHD:
Tests and Diagnosis:
During your visit to the doctor, he would first conduct a thorough physical examination of the child. He will then take a family medical history, behavior, symptoms, any kind of illness previously, any allergy that the child had previously, any medicines given to the child, check for vaccination records and so on. He will also check for any major events that happened in the home front – a death in the family, a divorce or an accident etc.; he will also check the child's vision and hearing. After complete evaluation, if ADHD is suspected he would advise the parents to consult a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a neurologist for their opinion.
Medication, educational support, advice to the parents on how to tend to the affected child and psychological therapies can help. It is a challenging task for parents to look after a child with ADHD.
Allergy and ADHD are two entities which have separate causes. But the increased association of these two diseases with delays in diagnosis may complicate treating ADHD since the kids are diagnosed after years of demonstrating the signs of disorder. ADHD may be due to the genes which are prone to allergy or is the ADHD presence in their genes due to family history a cause for allergic reactions? Studies are underway to check the association between the two.
Assessment of allergies to different food substances should be taken up for children who have ADHD. It would be beneficial in treating them. If the cause of the impulsiveness, hyperactivity is the sensitivity to food, then this should be first identified and treated, eliminating any allergy-causing foods and advising nutritional supplements to strengthen the immune system. Later on, mild medications can be given keeping in view the child's age and health parameters.
The 3 common foods which are associated with symptoms resembling ADHD are
- Dairy products –. Bed wetting, asthma, respiratory infections, throat irritation. Focus & attention problems
- Wheat / Gluten – Mood swings, aggressiveness, irritable behavior
- Food additives – behavioral problems, hyperactivity, allergic reactions and cancer
Soy, corn, eggs, sugar – can cause focus and attention problems in children. Consuming foods that the body cannot tolerate causes damage to the small intestine, which will lead to problems in absorption and utilization of nutrients.
Nutrient deficiencies found in ADHD cases are
- Omega 3 fatty acids –the essential fats are not manufactured by the body and hence should be consumed.
- B complex vitamins – these vitamins are essential for energy, metabolism, and creation of brain chemicals needed for neuro-activity.
- Magnesium – Nutritional supplements with magnesium can reduce the hyperactivity. This helps to get calcium in the bones and breaks down vitamin D.
- Zinc – Slow growth, attention issues.
- Probiotic – Memory, attention disorders