October is ADHD Awareness Month and in 2020 the theme is ‘Common Questions, Reliable Answers’. Although most people have heard of ADHD, there is still little real understanding of the condition among people in general. This is why it is so important to spread awareness, particularly in this month dedicated to ADHD. So how much do YOU know about ADHD? Let’s have a look at some common questions.
Is there a difference between ADHD in males and females?
Although boys are more likely to be diagnoses with ADHD – there are 2-3 as many boys with a diagnosis than girls – it is still a condition that affects both genders. The reason behind the discrepancy in the number is because ADHD affects boys differently and the signs are easier to spot.
How common is ADHD in children and what causes it?
It is estimated that just under 6% of children all over the world have ADHD, however around 20% of children no longer show signs of ADHD when they reach adulthood. It is believed that ADHD is caused by genetic make-up. When something is part of your DNA, you don’t ‘just grow out of it’. Nor is it the result of ‘bad parenting’ or other such myths. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder. When someone has an ADHD diagnosis, they find it difficult to control their impulses and find concentrating very challenging. The brain is hardwired in a different way to a non-ADHD brain. Research shows decreased dopamine receptors in an ADHD brain. Dopamine allows us to regulate our impulses and emotions. It helps us work towards achieving things – like a type of pleasure and reward switch. Now imagine having a faulty switch, where you cannot control your emotions or responses effectively enough. That is the struggle faced by children with ADHD.
Do kids with ADHD need medication?
Many children with ADHD take medication to manage their behaviour more effectively. It can help reduce the symptoms they experience and help them to function in a more socially acceptable manner. They can help people function better in society and do better at school. The medication works by reducing hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattentiveness. However, there can be unwanted side effects. Sometimes they cause sleep problems, loss of appetite and general nauseous feelings.
There is a common misconception that medication taken to manage ADHD ‘just makes things worse’. Some people believe the myth that, because common ADHD medication like Ritalin is a stimulant, it will actually make behaviour more unruly instead of helping to manage it. While it is true that the medication is a stimulant, it stimulates the parts of the brain that are underactive in the ADHD child, so this common myth is debunked.
Is it ok to stop taking medication when on school holidays?
If you stop taking any type of prescribed medication, it causes an imbalance in the body. It can destabilise children and make behaviour even more difficult for them to manage their behaviour. They will find it difficult to follow daily routines, cause them undue anxiety and make home life more stressful for not only them but the whole family. They may find it difficult to stay focussed on conversations and will act on impulses.
How can someone with ADHD manage themselves more effectively?
As mentioned above, medication can help to curb impulsiveness and calm someone with ADHD down enough to improve concentration. Other things can help too, like trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, developing a good routine with regular sleep patterns and a healthy diet. Along with some self-care, mindfulness and a positive mindset, ADHD should not hold a child back from achieving at school.
These are just a few answers to some common questions about ADHD. It is important to be supportive of young people with ADHD. At Emerald Education Centre, we have experience of helping ADHD students manage their work and cope with routines, enabling them to achieve more at school. We offer online tuition and in-person lessons at our centre in Bundoran, Donegal. For more information about how we can help YOUR child, please do get in touch with Elaine Lingard at firstname.lastname@example.org, call or message on (00353) 083 8550210, check out our Facebook page or visit our website.