Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a chronic behavioral disorder that begins in childhood and can continue into adulthood. ADHD is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that is caused by various risk factors and characterized by different symptoms. ADHD presents in three main subtypes – predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, and a combination of the first two subtypes (Mayo Clinic, 2019). ADHD can lead to several complications in children if not addressed adequately. ADHD can be prevented at different stages of a child’s growth and development.
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often present with various symptoms. The symptoms are often pervasive and impairing. Primarily, a child with ADHD is likely to be inattentive and exhibit hyperactive-impulsive behavior (Mayo Clinic, 2019). The intention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity associated with ADHD often occur before a child attains the age of seven (Lola et al., 2019). In some cases, the ADHD symptoms may be noticeable as early as when an affected child is three years of age. Children who present with ADHD may exhibit mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. It is also imperative to note that ADHD symptoms may persist into adulthood. Besides, the disorder is more prevalent in male children than in female children. Its symptoms in male patients tend to be more severe than in female patients (Mayo Clinic, 2019). For instance, male children who present with ADHD may be more hyperactive, while their female counterparts tend to be passively inattentive. In the case of predominantly inattentive ADHD, most of the symptoms tend to be confined to inattention. Children who suffer from predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, on the other hand, exhibit symptoms that are mostly hyperactive and impulsive (Mayo Clinic, 2019). In some cases, children who present with ADHD may exhibit a combination of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.
Inattentive symptoms are defined by a wide range of features, including a child’s failure to pay attention to details, inability to remain focused during tasks, and respond to instructions. Inattentive children also tend to be distracted easily and are more forgetful. The hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, on the other hand, are characterized by features such as difficulty in staying calm and talking too much (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Other hyperactive/impulsive symptoms may include impatience, restlessness, and intrusion on other people’s conversations or activities. It is imperative to note that determining if a child presents with ADHD requires one to perform differential diagnosis between the disorder and the typical developmental behaviors in children.
Various risk factors cause ADHD. The leading causes of the disorder include genetics, environmental factors, and problems associated with a child’s central nervous system. A child may be predisposed to the risk of acquiring ADHD if a blood relative (parent or sibling) has a history of ADHD or presents with a mental health disorder. Exposure to environmental hazards such as lead may also predispose a child to ADHD (Mayo Clinics, 2019). Besides, children whose mothers smoke, consume alcohol, or use mental drugs during pregnancy can be at risk of acquiring ADHD. Premature birth can also predispose a child to the risk of ADHD. It is imperative to note that a wide range of factors can cause attention deficits in children. However, ADHD is caused by specific factors discussed hereinabove.
ADHD causes several complications in affected children. For instance, children who present with the disorder tend to struggle in the classroom, leading to poor academic performance. Besides, children with ADHD are more prone to accidents and injuries than their counterparts without ADHD (Mayo Clinic, 2019). The inattentiveness or hyperactivity of children with ADHD often puts them on a collision path with their peers. Also, children with ADHD often find it troubling to interact with or very challenging to be accepted by their peers. Besides, their poor academic achievement tends to make them vulnerable to unfair judgments by their peers or adults. The unfair judgment and conflicts with rejection by peers often lead to low self-esteem among children with ADHD. Adolescents with ADHD are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs or exhibit delinquent behaviors such as bullying their peers. ADHD can, therefore, complicate a child’s life and affect his or her healthy development.
Therefore, in light of the above discussions, ADHD is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that is not only caused by a wide range of risk factors but also can significantly affect a child mentally, academically, developmentally, and socially. Adolescents with ADHD who become delinquent may even find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Based on the identified risk factors of ADHD, parents (mothers) can be the primary contributors to ADHD, mainly when they engage in unhealthy habits during pregnancy. It is, therefore, necessary for parents to take appropriate preventive measures to avoid predisposing their children to the risks of ADHD. For instance, mothers should avoid consuming alcohol, smoking, or using recreational drugs during pregnancy. Parents should also protect their children from harmful environmental elements such as lead paint and other pollutants to reduce the risk of acquiring n ADHD. Parents should also limit their children’s screen time to prevent the children’s predisposition to the risk of ADHD. Observing the above preventive measures can, therefore, help parents to prevent the risk of ADHD in their children.
Lola, M. H., Belete, H., Gebeyehu, A., Zerihun, A., Yimer, S., & Leta, K. (2019). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among children aged 6 to 17 years old living in Girja District, rural Ethiopia. Behavioural Neurology, 1(1), 1-8.
Mayo Clinic. (2019). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/symptoms-causes/syc- 20350889