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Today, it is common to come into contact with someone who has attention-deficit, with or without hyperactivity (ADHD). What do you know about this condition?
ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects a number of children, adolescents and adults in Canada. It is estimated that roughly 5 to 8% of children and 4% of adults are affected by it. The exact causes are not known, but it has been shown that there is often a significant hereditary component (one or both parents are affected by it). ADHD is typically characterized by difficulties with attention, concentration and behavioural management.
ADHD may lower self-esteem and the ability to exchange and interact within family, social, professional and school settings. However, with the advancement of knowledge and treatment measures, more and more people are able to better cope with this disorder on a daily basis.
If you observe the following behaviours in your child, they may be affected by ADHD and a professional assessment may be needed. The child:
Other manifestations can also be observed. ADHD sometimes goes hand in hand with hyperactivity, impulsiveness or aggressiveness. If you are unsure, speak to a school or health professional.
ADHD is sometimes misunderstood or subject to criticism. The myths surrounding it are numerous. Here are a few:
"All children with ADHD should take medication." In certain cases, turning to psychostimulant drugs may be warranted (see below). Drug treatment is one method among others and shouldn’t be considered as the first or the only option.
In recent years, there has been increased use of drugs called "psychostimulants" to treat ADHD. However, psychostimulants shouldn’t be viewed as "miracle pills". They don’t cure ADHD, but can reduce symptoms and improve functional abilities. The goal of ADHD treatment must always consist of reducing its daily impact and enable people to reach their full potential.
The decision to take medication is an important one and must be based on thorough analysis of the advantages and inconveniences. Speak to your doctor and pharmacist about treatment issues. The desired effects, side effects, drug interactions, contraindications, precautions and dosage are topics that should be discussed at length. Ask as many questions as needed.
The support provided to people with ADHD can greatly impact the status of their condition. An individual approach based on various types of intervention techniques increases the chances of achieving set objectives. Here are a few examples of measures that can help people cope with ADHD on a daily basis.
Find out from school staff, CLSC workers or from a treating physician what resources are available to your child. You’ll be glad you took the time to look into it.
If you believe you or a loved one may have ADHD, speak to them openly about it, but avoid jumping to conclusions too quickly. Remember that only a medical assessment can provide a formal diagnosis and the appropriate measures.
Regardless of the age of the persons affected by it, ADHD deserves our full attention. Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about available treatments.
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