ADHD Still On The Rise

ADHD has been a hot topic over the past several years mainly because of its increasing prevalence. Unfortunately, it’s still on the rise. According to research done by Darios Getahun and colleges, ADHD has increased 24% in the past ten years. African Americans saw the highest increase followed by Hispanics and then Whites. The large increase in Blacks with ADHD is due mostly to the fact that it has significantly increased in Black females. While other races have seen an increase, ADHD is still the most prevalent in whites. What’s also interesting is the fact that children in higher income homes (over $70,000) were at higher risk for having ADHD. This research also explained how ADHD continues into adolescence and adulthood in 66%-85% of children.

So what does this mean? It means that it’s crucial for the mental health field to find the best strategies to help those that suffer from this disorder. It’s also important for parents and teachers to be educated so that they’re able to recognize the signs. Fortunately, ADHD is considered the most treatable disorder, whether treatment begins in childhood or adulthood. However, not treating certain children early enough can lead to other issues. 20-30% of children with ADHD develop other disorders like conduct or opposition-defiant disorder. The combination of these disorders leads to an increase of that child dropping out of school.

Failing to treat ADHD early on can lead to other problems in adulthood, including work life and marriage. When it comes to employment, only half of adults with ADHD are employed full time while 72% of adults without the disorder are employed full time. This difference that shows how untreated ADHD affects being able to have a full time job. Another negative effect of ADHD is presented in marriage. According to Kristen Weir, adults with untreated ADHD have a higher mean number of marriages and report lower levels of marital satisfaction. This often occurs because one spouse feels like they have to take the role of a parent because the other spouse is constantly forgetting to do certain things. Unfortunately, the spouse with ADHD doesn’t understand why the other spouse gets so upset with them because they’re unaware they have a deeper problem. Often times, adults with ADHD present symptoms of depression and anxiety but ADHD is the underlying cause.

As stated before, ADHD is easily treated. To understand the treatment methods, you have to understand some of the causes. One of the causes is the imbalance of neurotransmitters that are active in the pre-frontal cortex- the area of the brain that controls attention. The most common and known form of treatment is drugs that help fix this imbalance.

Research recently published gives insight into other causes for ADHD. A study done by Nerissa Bauer found that there’s a strong link between children exposed to intimate partner violence and/or parental depression and children with ADHD. In fact, children exposed to these conditions were 4 times as likely to develop ADHD. Although this seems to be compelling evidence of cause and effect, what it really shows is that early experiences are very important in a child’s development.

Because it’s been shown that ADHD develops in children somewhat based on their experiences, using drugs as treatment may not always be the best answer. That’s why other forms of behavior interventions have emerged. According to an article written by Rebecca Clay, there are three different categories of behavioral treatment. The first category is teacher programs which consist of teachers using different methods to help children function in a classroom. Examples include using step-by-step instructions and giving daily report cards that discuss how well the child is meeting certain goals. The second category is parent programs which include teaching parents how to notice the child’s good behavior rather than just the bad. The third category is therapeutic-recreational programs which give children a way to interact with other kids who have ADHD. This could be at summer camp or other similar events. These programs help children learn social skills and receive training and coaching in a way that children can relate to. Along with these programs, it’s also been found that more sleep and exercise help children cope with distractions and perform better.

The key thing to take away from all this information is that ADHD is very treatable and although it can be treated a variety of ways, early intervention is key. Whether you end up counseling children or adults, it’s important to be informed of the signs that someone is suffering from ADHD and to understand the difference in the ways children and adults present these signs.

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Posted on April 22, 2013, in Biological Psychology, Community, Emerging Trends in Psychology, Students and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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