Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADHD is a common condition that affects children and adolescents, while ADD is more common in adults.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 3% to 5% of children have ADHD. Some experts, though, say ADHD may occurs in 8% to 10% of school age children. Experts also question whether kids really outgrow ADHD. What that means is that this disorder may be more common in adults than previously thought.
Children with ADHD generally have problems paying attention or concentrating. They can't seem to follow directions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. They also tend to move constantly and are impulsive, not stopping to think before they act. These behaviors are generally common in children. But they occur more often than usual and are more severe in a child with ADHD.
The behaviors that are common with ADHD interfere with a child's ability to function at school and at home.
Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.
The primary ADHD medications include stimulants, nonstimulants, and antidepressants.
Stimulants are the most common treatment for ADHD in children and adolescents. They include methylphenidate -- Ritalin, Metadate, Concerta -- or amphetamines, including Dexedrine, Dextrostat, and Adderall. A newer drug, Vyvanse, is a type of amphetamine that’s formulated to last longer and to be less conducive to dependence than other stimulants.
As always there is a flip-side to these prescription drugs, and in the case of Ritalin, substance abusers have found various ways to ingest the drug recreationally, which gives an effect similar to cocaine or amphetamine so the use of ritalin is to be closely monitored.
- For the child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the side effects of using Ritalin, are many, including psychosis (abnormal thinking or hallucinations), difficulty sleeping, stomach aches, diarrhea, headaches, lack of hunger (leading to weight loss) and dry mouth. In some cases, the use of Ritalin has led to death.
- If Ritalin or its side effects, are causing your children problems, ask your doctor about using marijuana as an alternative.
Dr Claudia Jenson, who was a consultant pediatrician from USC, came up with a novel way of treating ADD/ADHD, without any of the unwanted side effects which can result from using popularly prescribed medicines several years ago.