Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that typically presents in childhood before the age of 12 and can impact a child's behavior, emotions, learning, and social interactions.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Includes:

  • Attention deficit
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity

ADHD is a condition that affects children worldwide. Some children may exhibit predominantly hyperactive and impulsive behaviours, which are more common in boys, while others may exhibit predominantly inattentive behaviours, which are equally common in girls and boys. In Thailand, research has shown that around 8% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Tips on Observing if a Child Has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Indicative symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a child include

  1. Attention deficit: characterised as follows:
    • Unable to finish a task as instructed by teachers or parents.
    • Inattentive during a task or play.
    • Seems not to listen when spoken to.
    • Unable to pay close attention in listening and collecting details, resulting in frequent mistakes in work.
    • Rather disorganised.
    • Has trouble or tries to avoid a task that needs ideas and attention, such as book reading, doing homework.
    • Easily distracted.
    • Often loses personal belongings or things necessary for task or school activity.
    • Forgetful.
  2. Hyperactivity and impulsivity: characterised as follows
    • Fidgety, squirming.
    • Unable to remain seated, get up to walk frequently while at home or in the classroom.
    • Likes running about, or climbing.
    • Talks excessively, talks away.
    • Unable to play quietly.
    • Always on the go, or seems to be easily flustered.
    • Likes blurting out answers before questions have been completed by teachers or parents.
    • Unable to wait a turn
    • Likes interrupting or intruding while others are talking.

If a child has six or more symptoms from either (1) or (2) for at least six consecutive months, it is highly possible that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Recent studies suggest that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be linked to a deficiency in certain chemicals in the brain, with genetics playing a significant role. It has been noted that about 30-40% of children with ADHD have a family member with the same condition. Additional risk factors include nutrient deficiencies, alcohol consumption, smoking, and exposure to toxins such as lead during pregnancy, which can increase the likelihood of a child developing ADHD.

According to current research, overconsumption of sugar or chocolate, vitamin deficiency, and allergies have not been found to be the causes of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, watching television or playing video games for extended periods of time may contribute to attention deficits and hyperactivity. This is because children are constantly stimulated by the rapidly changing images on the screen, which capture their interest. This type of attention is driven by external stimuli, which is different from the attention required for reading or performing tasks, with which children with ADHD often struggle.

What Are the Treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

The treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with the highest efficacy includes a combination of various treatments, as follows:

  • Medical treatment
  • Behavioural changes and mental supports for child and family
  • Learning supports

Medical treatment

The most effective medications for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are psychostimulants. These drugs are safe, with minor side effects and high treatment efficacy. They help children become more attentive, less hyperactive, calmer, and less impulsive, which may improve their learning performance. As a result of receiving proper treatment, children may experience better self-esteem and improved relationships with their friends and others around them.

It is common to experience side effects from these drugs which may include poor appetite, weight loss, insomnia, headache, stomach pain, bipolar disorder, and irritability. Fortunately, these side effects are typically not severe and can be resolved by adjusting the dosage or switching to other types of medication.

Behavioural changes and mental supports for child and family

Parents and teachers of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can learn techniques to manage the child's inappropriate behaviours. It's important to note that spanking or corporal punishment is not effective and may cause children to become more angry or defiant. Instead, positive reinforcement through praise or rewards can be effective in encouraging proper behaviour, while negative reinforcement through discontinuing preferred activities or withdrawing privileges can help with inappropriate behaviour.

It may also be helpful for the child with ADHD to speak with a physician who can provide knowledge about their limitations and recommend self-practice guidelines to enable the child to utilise their abilities in other areas to compensate for any impairments.

In some cases, family therapy may be necessary to improve interpersonal relationships in the family and reduce the child's anxiety and stress.

Learning supports

Many children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may also struggle with learning and reaching their full potential in education. As a result, it's crucial for teachers to play a supportive role in helping these children achieve better academic performance.

Does Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Go Away as Children Grow Up?

As adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) mature, approximately 30% have the potential to recover and lead normal lives without requiring further medication. However, most individuals with ADHD, although less hyperactive and impulsive, will continue to experience some degree of attention deficit.

As we mature into adulthood, those who can adapt and choose a job that doesn't require excessive attention have the opportunity to succeed and lead a normal life. However, some may still experience symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can have negative effects on their education, career, and social interactions. Patients in this group require ongoing treatment.