Do you understand ADHD?

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It is normal for everyone to zone-out in a boring class, jump into a conversation, or leave their homework on the kitchen table once in a while.

BUT, kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have so much trouble staying focused and controlling their behaviour that it affects their emotions, how well they do in school as well as other areas in their lives.

ADHD can interfere so much with a child's ability to study and learn that teachers and doctors may consider it a learning disorder.

Does any of the following apply to your child/ren?

  • Their room is a hopeless mess with papers, toys and clothing everywhere? This is normal for a teenager, but not so much for an 8-year-old.
  • They can't concentrate, even while playing.
  • They make careless mistakes while doing homework, even if the work is well-known to them.
  • Teachers are always contacting you about "bad behaviour".
  • Important items such as stationery, lunchboxes or clothing, are lost on a daily basis.
  • Does s/he always have to be standing up even when s/he should be sitting down?
  • Your child speaks quickly and with little or no thought of what is being said.
  • They butt in during conversations with topics which are completely off the topic being discussed.

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is a brain disorder caused by faulty connections between nerve cells which regulate attention. Research indicates it is genetic and might be inherited in most cases.

How does one treat it?

Treatment continues to be a topic of intense debate. Prescription medication for this disorder could produce unwanted side-effects and although they may provide some relief of the core symptoms, they fail to correct individual coping mechanisms in the classroom or at home.

However, in some cases, the pros outweigh the cons.

Children are able to control impulses and focus. Medication will also lessen the chances of developing co-morbidities such as anxiety and depression.

Symptoms can be reduced with a combination of medication and behavioural therapy.

Studies show a high-protein, low-sugar, no-additive diet combined with ADHD friendly supplements like fish oil and zinc, can drastically improve symptoms with no side-effects.

Make sure your child:

  • Eats foods which are high in protein. Add protein snacks to lunchboxes.
  • Eats fewer simple carbohydrates - such as sweets, honey, sugar, products made from white flour, white rice and potatoes without the skin.
  • Eat more complex carbohydrates, such as fruit and vegetables. Eating complex carbohydrates before bedtime may aid sleep.
  • Eat more omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, walnuts, olive oil, etc.

ADHD is a condition associated with negativity. It is understandable for parents to have concerns when their child is diagnosed with ADHD, especially about treatments.

It is important to remember that while this condition cannot be cured, it can be successfully managed.

Parents and doctors should work closely with teachers, coaches and other family members. Take advantage of all the resources available to help you guide your child towards success.

This information was supplied by Fedhealth and are purely for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

Also read: Will my ADHD child still sleep poorly when he's 18?

Also read: ADD: Should we medicate our child? 

Also read: New alternative ADHD treatment

Does your child suffer from ADHD? What were the signs and what was the journey to diagnosis like? How is your child's condition managed? Share your story with us by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your story. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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