Currently, the rates of children diagnosed as the carriers of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder syndrome are significantly increasing. In general, it is regarded to be a common neuropsychiatric notion in children of school age; statistically, from 3 to 5 per cent that comprises 2 million US children are affected. ADHD stands for a set of behavioral symptoms mainly recognized through the patterns of hyperactivity and lack of attention. Usually, it is diagnosed in young children and considered to be a stressful syndrome for both children who suffer from ADHD and their parents. Therefore, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is defined as “a chronic mental health disorder with distinct behavioral manifestations in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood” (Sibley et al., 2011, p. 139).
ADHD is a tricky disorder to diagnose, because it is interconnected with other illnesses that are perceived by the similar symptoms; namely, bipolar disorder, learning disabilities, and other diseases of depressive nature. Especially disputable state of diagnosis tends to be in the case of infants and young children. Therefore, ADHD diagnosing in young children is a controversial issue that provokes heated debates among psychologists. The chemical imbalance in the child’s brain result the main symptoms of ADHD that are represented in inappropriate degrees of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Undoubtedly, the trick lies in differentiating normal behavior of a child and specific one that defines the ADHD’s presence. Almost every child acts in impulsive, hyper active and energetic way.
Currently, researchers are working on examining the peculiarities of the ADHD symptoms across different age groups. According to the statistical data, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder “occurs in approximately 2% to 18% of the general child and adolescent population” (Purpura et al., 2010, p. 546). Unfortunately, the situation of determining the ADHD diagnosis in young children seems to be fairly poor, as there are not many programs for young children that deal with the distinguishing of the child’s behavioral patterns as the syndrome.
Regularly, the assumption of the possible presence of ADHD syndrome starts from having discovered the child’s problematic behavior by the pediatrician. In the case, when parents presuppose their child might have this syndrome, the pediatrician whether concludes that the child may outgrow this hyper active behavior that is considered to be a norm, or prescribes an appropriate medication. Though, the evidence driven from the parents’ observation not always proves to be relevant. ADHD is defined by the following behavioral patterns: deficit of attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. An individual may be diagnosed with ADHD when he/she exhibits “significant elevations in at least six of nine” inattention or hyperactivity symptoms (Purpura et al., 2010, p. 546).
From the perspective of the conceptual definition of Barkley, ADHD arises in the period of early years and is characterized by the deficit of attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Nevertheless, the syndrome is regarded to be tricky to state or recognize because of driving the parallels with bipolar conditions, depression, and state of anxiety. From the historical angle, ADHD was considered to be a syndrome that occurred in school-aged boys. In the span of time it was diagnosed in cases with females, adolescents and adults. Due to the emergence of this disorder in young children, the relevant is the fact that previously the children with ADHD were believed to outgrow it in the adolescence period (Nefsky, 2004).
Although there is no distinct definition for ADHD, there are particular characteristics that help to recognize the syndrome’s presence. Additionally, the minimal dysfunction of brain is regarded to be the reason of the ADHD development. The so-called “ADHD-inattentive type” presupposes the following symptoms of an individual: deficit of attention, disorganization, lack of persistence on given task, etc. The representatives of the “ADHD-inattentive type” seem to be disposed to excessive motor activity and impulsively responding. The specialists in child psychology distinguish the third type that is a mixture of the previous two and is called the “ADHD-combined type” (Purpura et al., 2010, p. 546).
As the chronic disorder, ADHD is defined to deal with the central nervous system that evokes lack of attention, problems on the levels of various developmental activities, and dysfunction of self-motoring skills, and social interaction. Young children diagnosed with ADHD need extra assistance in the process of social skills development. Thus, a child with its impulsiveness and hyperactivity may manage to create only poor relationships with other children. Besides, the children who possess the deficit of attention are partially unable to exercise social skills.
Parents whose children are labeled as the carriers of high activity, impulsivity and attention levels are required to follow the “wait-and-see” approach in order to deal with the problems their children may face. On the one hand, this approach tends to be valid, especially in the case of preschool children; as a normal behavior may be intermingled with the symptoms disclosure. On the other hand, it is regarded to be imperfect in cases of children who are already affected; despite the relevant treatment, the long-term difficulties may occur in the adolescence period. The usage of stimulant medication turns out to be the first step of ADHD treatment in preschool children because it is recommended for the school-age youth. Although, a plenty of psychologies suggest “that behavioral interventions should be the first-line option for the treatment of preschool ADHD and that medication should only be used when behavioral interventions are not available or when significant room for improvement exists following effective implementation of behavioral interventions” (Rajwan et al., 2012, p. 521).
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Medical means of treatment are obviously effective but are not always the way out. Medication will help for a quite short period of time and if the child has troubles in capacity of learning, the problems may reappear. There is a plenty of situations when children are defined as the carriers of ADHD syndrome by their teachers at school because of the results of IQ test. It leads to the parents’ putting a child on medication that is horrible from the ethical point of view.
Medication commonly used for ADHD treatment consists of stimulants as Vyvanse, Ritalin and Concerta. Their efficacy is rather short-term and they were produced in order to treat the symptoms of the attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is obvious that not all children need medical treatment. It is known that children have abnormally sensitive nervous systems. Thus, Ritalin is considered to be a harmful toxic substance that affects nervous system and thus behavior. Despite extreme cases, it is “important to think about whether alternative treatment options, whether earlier intervention with those could have a beneficial effect” (Bulletin, 2012). Besides, ADHD stimulants may entail side effects, e.g. insomnia, loss of appetite, and problems with stomach. Therefore, the medications serve as the reflex response that releases for a short time, but afterwards the addition of other deviations may occur.
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The relevant is the fact that a child not always needs to be cured with the help of stimulant drugs. The patient with ADHD rarely seeks treatment, as the primary motivation lands its roots to the core of the problem; thus, is closely connected with parents or significant others in the case with adults. Therefore, ADHD treatment is possible and even effective with the help of alternative non-drug therapies. Among them are the vitamins and supplements usage, diets, and various types of activities that develop a personality. Foods and natural dietary supplements have been proved to be helpful with the ADHD syndrome. Stress is caused not only because of the symptoms, but because ADHD drugs as well. Moreover, the medications may increase the feeling of anxiety. Thus, a bunch of different activities was established in order to overcome stress.
ADHD is likely to be directly related to the mother’s depression. The investigations prove the fact to be relevant that the maternal depression may be divided into several groups “according to the child’s age at the time of the mother’s diagnosis: within 1 year before birth, within 1 year after birth, between 1 and 3 years old, 4 – 6 years old, and 7 – 9 years old” (Mahoney, 2007). From the angle of chronicity, each period, when the maternal diagnosis of depression was stated, leads to the acknowledgment of the following figures. “Approximately 16% of the mothers had a depression diagnosis in 1 year only, while 8% of the mothers received a depression diagnosis in 2 years and 12% in 3 or more years” (Mahoney, 2007). Thus, the maternal depression influences the emergence of ADHD in the child. Statistics shows that those children whose mothers were depressed are more prone to have ADHD syndrome than the children of non-depressed mothers.
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In conclusion, it is fairly difficult to distinguish behavioral patterns or other features as predictors of a future ADHD emergence. Nevertheless, the right ADHD diagnosing in young children can be expanded to ADHD diagnosis in all ages. Moreover, the earlier the problem is recognized, the sooner the appropriate means of treatment will work for diminishing the negative effects. Besides, the current natural alternative methods of treatment can provide better results than, for instance, ADHD stimulants, though in the cases that are not extreme.