ADHD is a condition that as of the year 2010 is said to affect over 10 million children in the United States.
Yet in many ways it is one of the most mysterious health issues of modern times as experts in the field cannot find a cause or a cure, and can’t even agree on treatment for this condition.
ADHD has been defined as a behavioral, developmental, and mental disorder. This seeming inability to even classify ADHD only adds to the mystery surrounding this condition.
In fact, there isn’t even a test for ADHD, instead a diagnosis of the condition is based on observation of a given list of behaviors.
Ironically, almost all of the behaviors listed in this condition are common among all children so, in the final analysis the diagnosis comes down to the degree of if the child has all of these behavioral patterns.
Symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD can include such things as inattention, difficulty in focusing on tasks, inability to sit still for long periods of time, irritability, impulsive behavior, and the list goes on.
Where ADHD was once only diagnosed in children between the ages of 6 and 12 it is now diagnosed in children as young as 4 and as old 18. Adults too are sometimes diagnosed with this condition.
At one time it was thought that as children matured they simply outgrew this disorder, however studies now show that around 70% of those diagnosed with ADHD as children continue to cope with the condition well into adulthood and throughout their lives.
However, this does leave about 30% of those diagnosed with ADHD as children seeing the condition simply disappear as they grow older and mature. No one seems to know why some people see an end to this condition and others don’t.
Causes of ADHD
While Scientists have yet to determine a cause of ADHD they do believe that genetics may play a role, as well as environmental factors such as the mother smoking, drinking, or taking other drugs during pregnancy.
Certain food additives and even a deficiency in certain nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and magnesium could be the cause. Some experts also feel that diet may exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD.
The only thing that is really known at this point is that the brains of children with ADHD look somewhat different then the brains of children who do have ADHD.
Research on finding a cause or causes is ongoing and scientists hope that finding the cause of ADHD may lead to better treatment options and perhaps prevention of this condition all together.
Diagnosis Of ADHD
To add to the mystery of ADHD, there is no medical or object test to determine if a child or adult has ADHD or not. Instead, diagnosis is made based on observation of the child by family members, teachers, day care providers, other adults and the child’s doctor.
While physicians try to make a diagnosis of ADHD objectively much of the information on which is diagnosis is based is more subjective rather than objective.
This may mean that not all cases of diagnosed ADHD are correct, only confounding the problem and the mystery.
When it comes to treatment of ADHD, the standard treatment is prescription drugs. While these drugs do tend to mask the symptoms of the condition for many children, they offer no cure.
Because of this and other issues new treatment options are being tried and some are proving to be effective for many children.
Changes in diet, homeopathic remedies and supplements, behavior therapy, and many other alternative treatments are showing promise for some children and adults with add symptoms.
More and more experts and parents are opting for individualized treatment plans for their child with ADHD than ever before.
What Does This All Mean?
With so much mystery surrounding ADHD there continues to be those who find themselves wondering if ADHD is a real condition at all. However, for those who have this condition it is very real, and offers many challenges.
Not only do parents who have children with ADHD have to worry about whether their child’s condition was properly diagnosed, they also have to decide which treatment options to try and how to best help their child deal with this very real issue in his or her life.
Then they as well as the children who are afflicted with ADHD wonder if they will be one of the lucky 30% who seem to grow out of this condition or if they will be one of the 70% who will need to cope with ADHD all of their lives.
These are all questions that currently have no answers, but scientists are working hard to find some.