Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder that requires early identification and treatment. Children with ADHD are inappropriately impulsive, are inattentive or hyperactive. Individuals with ADHD may eventually lead successful lives, but without the proper diagnosis and treatment, ADHD may cause these individuals to fail in their lives. Without properly identifying ADHD in a timely manner, those with ADHD may become failures in school and in relationships, suffer depression, have conduct disorder and get into substance abuse.
Children do not outgrow ADHD when they reach adolescence. If this neurobiological disorder remains undiagnosed or untreated until adulthood, individuals with ADHD will continually find themselves in trouble at work, in relationships and have emotional difficulties like anxiety and depression.
Exact causes of ADHD have still not been identified. But research has shown that ADHD has a strong neurological basis. This means heredity and genetics make up one of the factors for the incidence of ADHD. Of course there are instances where heredity is not a factor, in cases like alcohol or tobacco addiction during pregnancy, premature delivery or postnatal injury to the brain. These special situations have also been found to be factors in increasing the risk of ADHD to varying degrees.
Usually, individuals with ADHD are given medication to help them manage themselves. However, there are also other treatment options available that do not need medications. One of the drug-free methods used is behavioral therapy or psychosocial treatment. This treatment also involves parents, teachers and extended family.
Behavioral therapy tries to change the behavior patterns of an individual with ADHD by:
- Reorganizing the environment of the individual at home and in his school or workplace.
- Presenting clear commands.
- Putting up a reward system based on appropriate behavior.
Some behavioral strategies that could help an individual with ADHD are listed below.
- Create routines. A definite schedule should be followed every day. Wake-up times must be established and bedtime should be consistent. The schedule of activities all throughout the day should be defined. Post this schedule at the front of the refrigerator so that it is clearly seen.
- Arrange stuff. Everything must be in their proper places. Books are to be placed on shelves, dirty socks in the laundry, and so on. This will help teach the individual to be organized.
- Avoid distractions. Follow schedules strictly. Do not allow distractions.
- Give clear instructions. Avoid making long-winded instructions when reminding about tasks and responsibilities.
- Assign goals. Make a list or chart of what can be achieved in a week. When a goal is reached, place a checkmark. Post this beside the schedule for the week.
- Give rewards. Reward good behavior. Aside from praises, give something like a star or a treat.
- Don't yell. When things are not going right, don't yell. Use other means of communicating. There are some things that should not be done. Lessen TV time or computer time, give time-outs and wait for the message to sink in.
Remember that with proper treatment, a good environment and more patience, individuals with ADHD can lead successful lives and be able to manage their symptoms.