A hyperactive child is not uncommon in our time. every children’s group has a child who behaves more actively than their peers-making noise, shouting, dropping everything and distracting children from playing or studying. These “PEP” in some situations, is a real problem for family members or to others. And the main question that worries the parents of a hyperactive child is whether this behavior is a manifestation of character, or a disease (ADHD) that needs to be treated? In this article, we will talk about the symptoms of hyperactivity and about the methods of correction and treatment of this condition.
How does hyperactivity manifest in a child?
Excessive activity in children is called the medical term ADHD-attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. From this name, it follows that the main motive for the behavior of hyperactive children is the need to attract attention to themselves. And this does not mean that the child does not receive enough care, very often it is just the opposite.
ADHD is a fairly “young” term. Until the middle of the last century, hyperactivity in children was not considered a disease at all, and only in the 60s this condition began to be studied. It turned out that ADHD is associated with immaturity of the brain, as well as with dysfunction of the nervous system. At the same time, the child’s mental abilities are not impaired.
How to recognize a hyperactive child? Such children have some characteristic features:
- Impulsivity. That is, the child does things without thinking about the consequences. Such actions can at least cause confusion, and in the worst case lead to injuries.
- Restlessness. It is difficult for a child to do the same thing for more than 10-15 minutes. This quality is very difficult in school age, where the child must spend the entire lesson in one position, memorize and reproduce information.
- Difficulties with the perception of complex tasks.
- Inability to concentrate. Hyperactive children can ask a huge number of questions, and at the same time not be interested in the answer.
- Conflict. It often happens that a hyperactive child creates conflict situations, up to the use of “physical arguments”.
- The need for constant movement. The child runs more than walks, and he needs to do something all the time.
Surely, many parents have recognized their children. But it is not necessary to “hang tags”, and put a non-existent diagnoses. According to statistics, no more than 7% of children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And only a specialist – a child psychiatrist or a psychologist-can make such a diagnosis.
Don’t forget that children are great manipulators. And their behavior in some cases depends on what adults allow them to do. Have you ever had such cases that a child at home is capricious, noisy, does not fulfill simple requests, throws everything around and does not listen to you? But at the same time, he was replaced as a guest – he is calm, easy-going and balanced. Or, on the contrary – at school, conflicts, disrupts lessons, and at home – the perfect child. Such episodic hyperactivity suggests that it is not pathological, it is only a consequence of some pedagogical omissions that can be corrected.
Here are tips for parents and grandparents of hyperactive children:
- Establish contact with the child, remove irritants. We are talking about a broken toy, and about other adults and children who distract attention and cause active emotions.
- Set simple, clear, and doable tasks for your child. This is a bit like the army, but it is this style that will allow the hyperactive kid to hear and understand the request.
- Always follow the same rules. For example, if you can’t draw on the wallpaper today, then tomorrow and in a week, too.
- To observe the regime of the day – sleeping, walking, eating, reading.
- Praise the child (for good deeds, of course). Cultivate and encourage what comes out.
- Let the excess energy into a peaceful channel-walking, active games, sports.
- Avoid clusters of hyperactive children. If possible, this rule should be followed and do not attend noisy crowded events.
- Find an opportunity to relax for parents. Being the parents of a hyperactive child is quite difficult both physically and mentally. Therefore, parents need to periodically switch and rest.
As you can see, the problem of hyperactivity, if it is a feature of the character, can be solved independently. The only thing you should pay attention to – do not expect rapid changes from the child, most likely they will occur by the age of 12-14. Here is such a long and rather complex process you will have to do. What should I do?
Symptoms and causes of ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
The difference between a child with ADHD and a very active child is that the baby completely lacks self-control. Its excessive activity manifests itself regardless of the situation and the presence of surrounding stimuli. By the way, the irritant for such children can be not only obvious factors – a broken toy, a difficult task, a noisy environment, but also ordinary phenomena – bright light, rain or music.
The typical symptoms of ADHD are attention disorders, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
In early childhood, a child with ADHD often and unreasonably cries, sleeps poorly. He may have impaired speech and coordination – he misses objects, constantly falls. With age, this is manifested by excessive emotionality, mobility and low productivity.
Such children, as a rule, learn worse than their peers, as they do not concentrate and remember well. There are also problems with adaptation in the children’s team. The behavior of a hyperactive child often causes misunderstanding and outrage of peers and brings a lot of worries to teachers. Not everyone is able to cope with this problem, and the best way out of the situation is to punish a naughty child or maximum isolation from other children. But these methods do not work, and cause negativity and the desire to do something in retaliation. There is a vicious circle, in which the child is traditionally ” guilty”, although it is not his fault.
Let’s look at the causes of ADHD:
- Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) during pregnancy, birth injuries, medication. That is, everything that happens to a child before it is born.
- Genetic factors. At the moment, this is only a theory, but it is noted that impulsive parents have risks to produce a hyperactive child.
- Diseases of the nervous system and brain injuries.
There is an opinion that ADHD is associated with excessive production of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. They are known to be stress hormones. Therefore, the child is constantly in a state of nervous excitement and can not calm down on their own.
- Eating with food additives. The association of preservatives, colorants, sweeteners, and other additives with ADHD is a scientifically proven fact. It is alarming that these artificial components can be contained in food within the normal range, and up to 10% of children aged 3 to 8 years show hyperactivity with regular intake of such products.
Diagnosis and treatment of ADHD
If you suspect that your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, then the main task for you will be to find a competent doctor who will help you cope with the problem. These issues are handled by a pediatric neurologist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. The problem of our society is the presence of a number of stereotypes associated with this profile of diseases. You should understand that there is nothing wrong with your child’s intelligence, there are just some features that require special attention.
First, the doctor will collect anamnesis (including family history), find out in what situations the child’s hyperactivity manifests itself.
Next, a comprehensive examination is performed – an electroencephalogram or a more modern method – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). With ADHD, foci of abnormal brain activity will be detected.
To avoid making a false diagnosis, preschool children are observed for several months and only if the symptoms persist and confirm the diagnosis.
Diagnosis of ADHD is quite a responsible event, and only a specialist can cope.
It should be noted that not everything is so clear. To this day, there are discussions about determining the status of ADHD. Is it a disease or a disorder? On the one hand, there are no clear anatomical or physiological markers for determining this condition, and on the other-there are characteristic symptoms that are visible to the naked eye. Accordingly, there are no clear recommendations – a specialist of what profile should treat ADHD-a psychologist, psychiatrist or neurologist. Naturally, each doctor will have different approaches to treatment. However, the international classification of diseases, ICD-10, has this diagnosis, which means that most authoritative experts around the world call for the detection and treatment of this pathological condition.
Treatment of ADHD is complex-medical and psychological.
Medication for ADHD
There is no single treatment strategy for ADHD today. The fact is that every drug that is proposed by a particular association of pediatricians and neurologists has a number of quite serious side effects. Here is a list of the most popular drugs for the treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
- Methylphenidate – a central nervous system stimulant with a completely unexplored mechanism of action. Side effects include anxiety, insomnia, allergies, nausea, headache, depression, tachycardia, and high blood pressure. In addition, it increases the likelihood of drug addiction at an older age and has a withdrawal syndrome, which is not surprising, because it has a stimulating effect on the nervous system, like amphetamine. However, in a number of civilized countries, this drug is recommended for the correction of hyperactivity in children.
- Atomoxetine-acts on the norepinephrine receptors. The drug is indicated exclusively for ADHD. Side effects – loss of appetite, drowsiness, irritability.
- Antipsychotic drugs-correct behavioral disorders and have a lot of effects associated with the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain. At the same time, they reduce the volume of the brain, contribute to the appearance of excess weight, increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Nootropic drugs-to improve memory, attention, thinking, and sleep quality. It is worth noting that despite the lack of sufficient evidence, doctors note the positive effect of these drugs on the child’s condition.
- Vitamin B6 and magnesium – have proven effectiveness in reducing symptoms in children with ADHD.
Psychological correction of children with ADHD
Raising a child with ADHD is not an easy task and requires a lot of effort. And just the help of a psychotherapist will not solve your problems, much depends on you personally. Recommendations for behavior with such a child:
- Establish a trusting relationship with the child, a minimum of gadgets, a maximum of communication.
- Encourage and praise. Children with ADHD are particularly sensitive to praise, but do not pay much attention to punishments and comments. Putting them in a corner and scolding them is completely useless.
- Switch attention in the event that the child is fixated on the problem, try to eliminate irritants.
- Respond correctly to bad behavior. Explain what was wrong and what should have been done.
- Observe the daily routine. You can work together to make a list of things to do for today and cross out those that have already been done.
- Break down a complex task into subtasks in a single action. For example, the task – ” put down the toys, and put yourself in order” – sounds like an incomprehensible set of sounds for a hyperactive child. Is it correct to say so: 1. Put the typewriter on the shelf. 2. Go to the bathroom, wash your hands and face with soap.
Everything should be very clear and clear.
- To do sports, to walk more. The excess energy should be spent with benefit.
There are many more rules that you can discuss with a psychologist. It is very good to have not only a mother, but also a father, and preferably other family members who contact the child on a daily basis.
Conclusions: hyperactivity, regardless of whether it is a feature of the character or a symptom of the disease, requires special attention, because hyperactive children make no less hyperactive adults. Fortunately, in most cases, the problem is corrected without medication, but there are situations in which you can not do without qualified help. It is not necessary to be afraid or shy, because the health of your child (including mental) – in your hands.
Let your children be moderately active and never get sick!