Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is among the most prevalent neurobehavioral disorders prevalent children and adults. This disorder may have a significant impact on an individual’s academic or professional performance, overall wellness, and interpersonal interactions. The main symptoms of the conditions involve three areas such as impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention. Consequently, there are many interventions aimed at individuals diagnosed with ADHD based on the severity of the condition. However, while there are studies that confirm the beneficial nature of dietary adjustments and cognitive training, pharmacological and behavioral therapies are the most effective options as treatments.
The capacity of young individuals to perform is impacted greatly by ADHD, which manifests itself in a variety of forms. People with this condition exhibit tendencies of distractibility, restlessness, or impulsivity at degrees that are inappropriate. The DSM IV unified Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder into one primary condition (Wigal et al., 2020). It includes subgroups, such as primarily inattentive, mainly hyperactive, or combination type (Wigal et al., 2020). However, previously, these disorders were diagnosed separately without the groups.
Small children typically exhibit symptoms such as inattentiveness, difficulty concentrating, disorganization, trouble finishing chores, forgetfulness, and losing items. To qualify as having “ADHD,” a person’s symptoms must start before the age of 12, persist for six months, and disrupt everyday tasks (Wigal et al., 2020). This needs to be proven across many contexts, including such environments as home and school or activities related to these fields. Large-scale repercussions may include problematic social relationships, a rise in hazardous conduct, job losses, and difficulties in the classroom.
ADHD should be taken into account from the perspective of what is developmentally and socially acceptable for an individual. It is thought to be an executive functioning disorder, primarily a frontal lobe issue (Wigal et al., 2020). As a result, people with ADHD have impaired judgment and behavioral control in addition to concentration and awareness. Children with ADHD may struggle in social situations, become quickly irritated, and act impulsively.
Most individuals with such conditions will experience symptoms and difficulties through adolescence and adulthood. ADHD symptoms first appear in infancy. Around one-third of children were evaluated for ADHD and diagnosed before the age of six, per a national study conducted in 2014, with the average age of diagnosis being seven years (Wolraich et al., 2019). In this case, the diagnosis is set by a clinician, frequently a pediatrician. While explicit hyperactive and impulsive symptoms of ADHD begin to diminish as a person enters puberty, inattentive symptoms typically stay (Wolraich et al., 2019). ADHD frequently co-occurs with language and learning disorders.
The most typical signs of ADHD are divided into the three types of ADHD symptoms. The first is the symptoms of inattention that include limited attention span, implying trouble maintaining focus, trouble paying close attention to detail, difficulties responding to others, propensity to become easily distracted, forgetful nature, and poor organizing abilities (Wolraich et al., 2019). The second group includes symptoms related to impulsive behavior, with the ADHD patient constantly bothering people, having trouble waiting their turn in interpersonal or academic activities, and frequently acting without contemplating the risks (Wolraich et al., 2019). Lastly, hyperactivity implies appearing to be constantly moving, occasionally sprinting or climbing without any apparent reason, fidgeting, talking loudly and struggling to focus on quiet tasks, and switching from one activity to another without finishing any of them.
Discussion of Treatments
The most crucial rationale for therapy is the research showing how ADHD affects people individually and socially. As a result, there is consensus among clinical recommendations from the fields of pediatricians, psychiatrists, and primary care doctors that they should recognize, diagnose, and treat people who have ADHD. The effectiveness of pharmaceutical, non-pharmacological, and integrated treatments for ADHD has also been evaluated in a large number of recent meta-analyses (Caye et al., 2019). The research amply supports pharmacological therapies’ short-term effectiveness, but the data for their long-term efficiency is less apparent (Caye et al., 2019). More study is required to determine whether behavioral treatments have a role in the management of ADHD and whether non-pharmacological approaches like cognitive training are practical.
In the majority of medical settings and recommendations, pharmacological therapy continues to be the cornerstone of ADHD treatment and management. Approximately 90% of children diagnosed with ADHD in certain contexts finally receive medication treatment (Cortese, 2020). The most often prescribed drugs are psychoactive medication, methylphenidate, and amphetamines (Cortese, 2020). Atomoxetine, guanfacine, and clonidine are examples of secondary drugs that are frequently provided following ineffectiveness, resistance, or adverse reaction to psychostimulants (Caye et al., 2019). Bupropion, modafinil, and tricyclic antidepressants are other unapproved treatment choices. Dopamine and norepinephrine carriers are inhibited by psychoactive medication, relieving the symptoms (Caye et al., 2019). Yet, the most frequent adverse effects are lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
The two most suggested alternatives to ADHD medication are behavioral parent training and interpersonal skills therapy. Younger children or those with moderately severe ADHD are typically recognized as first-line therapies (Caye et al., 2019). For acute symptoms at any age, they are also the accepted supplement to drug therapy (Caye et al., 2019). In conclusion, behavioral therapies are the most widely utilized non-pharmacological intervention for children and adolescents, and most recommendations support them for ADHD in any circumstance, whether alone or in addition to pharmaceutical treatment. For the time being, carefully conducted research indicates that they are successful in enhancing parenting, parent-child interactions, and defiant tendencies that are frequent in children with ADHD and their households.
Another intervention is cognitive training, which involves the use of technology. By enhancing performance in particular ADHD-related neuropsychological processes, mental training techniques attempt to lessen the symptoms of ADHD, such as those related to attention, control, and memory. Aiming to attract the individual, cognitive training programs are typically offered through technological interfaces like computers or smartphones, which frequently resembles videogames) (Caye et al., 2019). Yet, without proper supervision, there are minimal positive effects of such therapy.
The final form of intervention, the dietary adjustment, has generated much debate since it was initially put forward more than 40 years ago. The major nutritional restrictions are eliminating artificial food colors (AFC) from the diet permanently or limiting a few meals in a short period between 9 and 28 days (Caye et al., 2019). Based on the potential neuroprotective effects of those chemicals, supplementing with poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is another frequently suggested tactic (Caye et al., 2019). Based on methodological factors, such as whether evaluations are done by blindfolded or unblindfolded reviewers, the reported effectiveness of food modification techniques for ADHD varies greatly.
Hence, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder is a psychological disorder that can be characterized from the perspective of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Usually, individuals are diagnosed with ADHD under the age of 12. While the most affected by this disorder are children and adolescents, adults can also struggle with this condition. Among the possible treatments are dietary adjustments, cognitive training, and pharmacological and behavioral therapies. While the first two options tend to lack evidential support, the latter pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions are the most efficient due to stabilizers and training.
Caye, A., Swanson, J. M., Coghill, D., & Rohde, L. A. (2019). Treatment strategies for ADHD: An evidence-based guide to select optimal treatment. Molecular Psychiatry, 24(3), 390-408.
Cortese, S. (2020). Pharmacologic treatment of attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(11), 1050-1056.
Wigal, S., Chappell, P., Palumbo, D., Lubaczewski, S., Ramaker, S., & Abbas, R. (2020). Diagnosis and treatment options for preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 30(2), 104-118.
Wolraich, M. L., Hagan, J. F., Allan, C., Chan, E., Davison, D., Earls, M.,… & Zurhellen, W. (2019). Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 144(4), 1-46.