What is Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that can begin in early childhood and persist until adulthood. It is also a psychiatric disorder which has negative effects on many areas such as social relations of individuals. ADHD is one of the most common disorders in childhood. Although attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder are often mentioned, it is not always the case when children are overly mobile. Sometimes only distraction, sometimes only hyperactivity, sometimes attention deficit and hyperactivity coexist with other.
What are the diagnostic criteria for ADHD?
ADHD is a clinical diagnosis; there is no laboratory examination or specific test to confirm the diagnosis. Clinician’s diagnostic tools; Interviews with family and children, clinical observation, psychiatric and neurological examination, behavior evaluation scales, parent and teacher scales and cognitive tests. Children with ADHD may have;
- Attention problems such as not being able to focus on a specific subject or event,
- Difficulty in maintaining attention,
- Losing goods and toys frequently,
- Forgetting the responsibilities and duties .
In addition to this, symptoms such as difficulty in waiting for their turn, inability to postpone their desires, impulsive behaviors such as interrupting others, and mobility, which are significantly higher than their peers, create problems in daily functions. Symptoms in children with this diagnosis begin before 7 years of age. While hyperactivity usually improves in late childhood or early adulthood, it is suggested that attention deficit persists and as a result, 30-80% of children with ADHD have symptoms in adolescence and 65% in adulthood.
Frequency of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
ADHD is one of the most common disorders among school age children. It has been reported that this condition is seen in 3-5%. Half of these children also have ADHD related problems in adulthood. According to the studies, hyperactivity decreases with age and attention deficit increases gradually.
Causes of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder
Although the exact cause of ADHD is not known, genetic, biological, psychosocial and environmental factors play a role in its emergence.
ADHD is a genetic disorder. The data obtained from twin, adoption and family studies indicated that ADHD has inherited characteristics. The results of family studies show that the risk of first-degree relatives of ADHD patients is 4-6 times higher. In twin studies, 50-80% of the identical twins and 33% of the fraternal twins were found to have genetic transmission. As a result, individuals with ADHD disorder in their families are more likely to experience this disorder than those without.
There are some differences in brain structures and brain functions of hyperactive and non-hyperactive individuals through brain imaging diagnostic methods. Studies using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have shown that the majority of children with ADHD have the right hemisphere of the brain larger than the left hemisphere, whereas the majority of children without ADHD have the opposite. However, differences in structural function in the brain (brain damage or neurochemical disruptions) may occur.
- Factors During and After Childbirth: Difficult birth, medical problems during or after childbirth (cord entanglement, lack of oxygen in the brain), premature birth, low birth weight (increases ADHD risk 2-3 times), central nervous system inflammation, iron deficiency, allergies.
- Psychosocial Factors: Preparatory and accelerating the effects of the development of the disorder rather than a basic effect can be talked about. Children with ADHD usually come from shattered families, the parents’ constant incompatibility, and psychiatric disorders in the parents. In addition, the attention span of children in orphanages was short and they were extremely mobile. Long-term emotional deprivation cause these symptoms.