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Children with Adhd

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Children with ADHD continue to pose a considerable challenge to their families and the society at large.

We live in a world today where ADHD is often heard of and drugs such as Ritalin. Concenta and Dexedrine have found a common place in many households, but what is it really and how does this disorder, Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, impact on the lives of the families and society?

The causes of ADHD are believed to be genetic and environmental. It has been proven over time that ADHD is more common in families in which one family member has the disorder. Relatives of Children with ADHD have been found to be more likely to have ADHD themselves than would be expected in the general population (Biederman et al., 1992). Recent twin and sibling pair studies in Australia also support the idea that ADHD symptoms are highly heritable in both boys and girls (Rhee, Whaldman, Hay & Levy, 1999). This indicates that ADHD is largely influenced by genetics. Previous research has indicated that there is probable more than one gene responsible for ADHD. There is strong evidence that ADHD is associated with the dopamine D4 receptor gene, the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) and the dopamine D5 receptor gene. DAT1 is of particular importance because methylphenidate (Ritalin) inhibits this gene and increases the amount of dopamine available (Barlow & Durand, 2009). Sue, D., Sue, D., and Sue, S. (2003) indicates that ADHD may be caused by inadequate dopamine in the central nervous system. This has led to genetic research involving the dopamine-receptor genes on chromosome 5 and 11 (DHHS, 1999). This strong genetic influence does not rule out environmental factors. Kahn, Koury, Nichols & Lanphear (2003) found that a specific mutation involving the dopamine system where more likely to exhibit the symptoms of ADHD if their mothers smoked during pregnancy.

ADHD is commonly found in children who have trouble concentrating, that struggle to sit still, seem not to be listening etc. According to the DSM-IV-TR classification three primary symptoms can be identified, that of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Inattention includes making careless mistakes, when it seems as though the child is not paying attention and making careless mistakes. Hyperactivity includes fidgeting and not able to sit still while impulsiveness includes blurting out answers before questions have been asked. Either one of these symptoms should be present for someone to be diagnosed with ADHD. This is however not where the limitations of the disorder end, because these primary symptoms often lead to secondary problems such as learning disabilities. Children with ADHD are also often unpopular and rejected by their peers this leaves them with a low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. It is clear to see the frustration that theses symptoms holds for parents, peers, teachers and caregivers if



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