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Attention deficit disorder is one of psychological brain disorders that is usually marked by inattention and hyperactivity. It occurs in the prefrontal lobe of the brain where it affects the executive functions, thereby preventing the operations such as the consolidation of information from other areas of the brain (Trueit, 2004). The state of inattention remains constant while hyperactivity declines after some time. The disorder occurs in children and also in adult age. The disorder has no known cure hence it is a crisis that is robbing the sufferer of the opportunity to succeed in their cognitive and social aspects of life. The children tend to experience the loss of concentration on the tasks assigned to them, like those in classrooms or even when studying at home. In adulthood, it is usually characterized by poor listening skills and forgetfulness. Therefore, it may pose the stiff challenge and prove detrimental in the work environment (Trueit, 2004). Even though ADHD cannot be curable, it is believed it can be well managed. This essay aims to discuss the etiology, the process of diagnosing, the possible ways of treating this ailment at different ages, the factors having an impact on the development of the disorder as well as the prognoses regarding the outcomes for the patient.
The disorder occurs as a result of dysfunction in the prefrontal lobe leading to the inhibition of the executive functions. It concerns the genes which are involved in dopamine regulation. A dopamine transporter gene has been proven implicated in this disorder (Trueit, 2004). It may also occur due to a difference in the size of brain structures, hence provoking abnormal brain activation during attention and inhibition tasks. Behavioral disinhibition forms the basis of executive functioning deficits.
There is no single test to diagnose ADHD in both children and adults. It can only be diagnosed after the victim has indicated some symptoms of the disorder on the regular basis, especially for more than six months. To diagnose ADHD, the symptoms must be present in many settings. Depending on the type of the symptoms the victim will be diagnosed with either one or three kinds of subtypes of ADHD. The potential diagnosis of ADHD usually takes a lot of time since the victim needs to have frequent visits to the doctor.
Various medics such as pediatricians, child psychologists, and psychiatrist may diagnose ADHD with the help of particular guidelines such as those provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The ADHD diagnosis entails collecting more information from several sources including the patient’s parents and caregivers. They will try to consider how the child's behavior is different when compared to different kids who are in same age (Trueit, 2004).Similar methods can be used to treat the disorder in adults. In fact, it is always very common for the adults to be diagnosed after their children have been diagnosed as the disorder is often a genetic phenomenon and parents often notice the symptoms in themselves when the doctor defines them more clearly.
ADHD can be successfully managed especially when the victim works with the well-developed individualized long-term plan which is made by the doctor. The treatment of this condition can be through medication or therapy, but a combination of both often gives the best result. For instance, for the kids who are six years and, the American Academy of Pediatrics often recommend both medication and behavior therapy as the optimal options of treatment. As for the case of children who are under six years, they are usually recommended behavior therapy as the first line of treatment before medication. Effective treatment plan includes very close monitoring of how much the treatment procedures can assist the victim's behavior. The use of both therapy and medication is always recommended due to their effectiveness compared to other treatment methods applied separately.
The process of treating this disease basically begins in early childhood and consists of two major stages: behavioral therapy, if the child is under six, and medication, which, anyway, does not exclude the therapy based on the practice of setting and achieving certain simple goals targeted at helping a patient to learn to concentrate. Therefore, non-pharmacological treatment portends to behavioral interventions such as behavioral parent training, classroom management, and intensive summer treatment programs. These, as it has been aforementioned, are used as an adjunct to pharmacological treatment.
The types of medications that can be administered include methylphenidate, dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, atomoxetine and guanfacine. Although such drugs may be given to the victim and have proved effective on the post-therapeutical stage, they do not permanently cure ADHD (Marsh, & Barkley, 2006). However, treatment may enable the victim who is suffering from the condition to concentrate better, feel relaxed, and have less impulse and can aid in gaining new skills.
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Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, as it has already been stated, have a decreased executive function. If the level of activity in the prefrontal lobe is increased, then the behavioral symptoms tend to decline. This logic can be exploited to manage the disorder by using stimulant medications. The most common stimulant medications include methylphenidate, and dextroamphetamine, amphetamine (Marsh & Barkley, 2006). They block the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine and facilitate their release. These drugs have some side effects such as nausea, insomnia, the loss of appetite, dry mouth, anorexia, headache, dizziness, moodiness, tics and paresthesia. These are, of course, the things which are far from pleasant but have to be dealt with in approaching the desired effect. Non-stimulant medications that affect dopamine and norepinephrine pathways, as well as the antidepressants such as Zoloft can also be used. Their side effects are synonymous to those of stimulants.
The environmental factors that are likely to distract and deconcentrate the child must also be eliminated during the time the child is assigned a task to perform. As the child’s input is elicited, it is a requirement to limit the number of choices to about two (Trueit, 2004). A regular and predictable schedule is then maintained.
The healthcare provider is expected to embrace three pillars which will hasten the management of the disorder while preparing the treatment plan and scheduling the visit of a patient (Selokowitz, 2009). They are required to be patient, persistent and understanding. Since the management takes time before the positive results are achieved, the three pillars would be the gold standard virtues of embracing the people enshrined to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most importantly, they must remember to differentiate their behaviors from the child. The doctor or anyone engaged in the process of treating children with such disease must at all times remain a calm and positive role model for them to follow. Under no circumstances should bad practices be depicted to be synonymous with the sick child (Pigache, 2004).
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Researchers have elucidated a link between hyperactivity and some foods, which must, therefore, be avoided. The foods including vitamins, fruit drinks, carbonated beverages as well as dyes and preservatives used in foods, such as sodium benzoate, salad dressings, condiments, butylated hydroxyanisole, and sodium nitrate should also be excluded since they precipitate hyperactivity. The products such as wheat, milk, eggs, soy and shellfish may contain allergens that affect the brain functions, thereby triggering inattentiveness or hyperactivity. Consequently, they must be taken with caution (Pigache, 2004).
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may pose substantial challenges to a satisfying life (Harmmerness, 2009). Only about 40percent of the children respond to treatment while the rest do not as they mature. Adults are not left behind and may experience higher odds of developing mental health complications. It, therefore, calls for additional attention to following the appropriate management criteria in order to control the symptoms mentioned above and ensure that the patient has a better quality of life (Hammernes, 2009).
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The sufferers or parents should have a thorough discussion concerning the decision on the reliable method of helping the victims of ADHD. It is always imperative to understand that ADHD is a disorder which can be easily managed if attended properly, since there are several treatment options. Therefore, parents of the children affected as well as the concerned adults need to work in close collaboration with the therapist or relevant healthcare workers to manage the condition. They should take the advantage of the available resources as well as patience, understanding, favorable environment, a sensible diet but also proper managing skills and influence to help the victims of ADHD to control the disorder successfully.