Misconception about ADHD Illness and challenges of its victim
I do not know much about other countries. However, Vietnam is my home country and parents, relatives as well as community members have a responsibility to discipline kids in the society who are behaving badly. As a kid, all family adult members used to yell at me, and I was punished almost on a daily basis because I was a hyperactive kid. I used to do all sorts of play, jumping, running up and down as well as not being careful about the surrounding and I could not feel tired at all despite playing for many hours. I could not sit still in one place for even ten minutes doing nothing. My mom always yelled at me and ordered me to stop doing something’s which she considered dangerous all the time. She used to complain and claim that God created me wrong. I should have been born as a boy instead of a girl. And I got frequently punished when I started going to school. My teachers always complained about my behaviors and reported me to my parents. All parents want their kids to be obedient, study well and pass exams. However, I could hardly concentrate on what the teacher was teaching. Whenever my teachers asked me some random questions related to the topic that they were teaching, I could not answer any of them, and they claimed that I was daydreaming and did not listen to what they were teaching. I got regularly punished than any other kid by my teacher, who made me scared, and I wanted to change my behaviors, but I could not. I told myself that I had to behave well if I did not want to get punished anymore. However, everyone including my teachers and other kids thought I was a spoilt and bad kid. I grew up with this challenge of lack of concentration and hyper activeness till puberty. My parents did not know what my problem was and they could not have considered it as a sickness. Therefore, they think shouting and punishing me could make me change my behavior. I did not know I got any that kind of sickness such as ADHD until I studied about it. Since I knew it is a sickness, I wanted to learn and know more information about it. I wanted to gain more knowledge about it and explain it to my parents that I was not created wrongly and I was sick and punishing me was not a way of treating this disorder. I wanted to educate all parents and teachers who have hyperactive kids that they are sick and it is unfair to treat them as bad spoilt kids. The sickness disorder that I am going to examine is called Attention- Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. ADHD is a condition which develops when a person the brain and central nervous system happen to have suffered impairments related to growth and development. A person with ADHD, most of the time, show varying degrees of these three behaviors which include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. About half of the kids with ADHD still have it in adulthood. Depending on different situation ADHD symptoms can be less or more pronounced over time. The rate of boys who are diagnosed with ADHD is about three times higher than the number of girls diagnosed with the same condition. However, I am a girl and the only victim of ADHD in my family since my brother does not have this condition.
There are several reasons which cause ADHD among children. Smitha Bhandari et al. (2017) claim that, parents with ADHD will have more chance to have a kid with ADHD. Moreover, kids born with a low birth weight, born premature, or whose mothers had difficult pregnancies have a higher risk of having ADHD. Mothers who smoke or drink alcohol during pregnancy may have a higher chance to have a child with ADHD.”There are common believe among people, and they speculate that kids who drink, eat too much sugar, or watch too much TV are likely to suffer from ADHD, but this notion is not true.
In my situation, I had asked my mom what was her experience during her pregnancy before I was born and I have realized that she experienced a lot of difficulties during that time just to keep her baby safe. She fell when she was six months pregnant, and from that time things were never the same. She was put on bed rest and under medication, and despite this care, I was born prematurely. My mom was never aware that such experiences could be harmful to her child and she had no idea of something like ADHD. After studying about this condition, I have realized that my mother lacked information about it and she used to hit me as a punishment to correct my behaviors due to parental love for the child. All Vietnamese parents believe in a saying “spare the rod, spoil the child” when it comes to children upbringing. They hope their kids will one day understand why they punished them when to did something wrong because they do it out of love and their desire to see their children grow up to be responsible people. My mom was not different; she used to punish me because she wanted me to become a well-behaved person. The kids with ADHD need to be treated in a special way instead of yelling or hitting whenever they do not behave well.
To learn more about ADHD, I will examine “Attention-deficit disorder (attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder without hyperactivity): A neurobiologically and behaviorally distinct disorder from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (with hyperactivity).” by Diamond (2005) and analyze symptoms exhibited by people living with ADHD. It is very easy to identify a kid or an adult suffering from ADHD condition. According to Diamond (2005), there are three major symptoms of ADHD and they include inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
People with inattention signs experience a hard time since they are easily distracted and keep jumping from one activity to another activity. They are impatient and get easily bored, and they find it difficult to focus on tasks, including homework, observing rules and regulations or meeting work deadlines, often struggles to follow through on projects/ instructions, assignments, and chores, and often fails to respond when being spoken to. The inattentive kids or adults are harshly judged, and they are thought to be daydreaming and get into trouble frequently because they don’t obey instructions or follow directions.
Kids with impulsivity and hyperactivity symptoms, they usually lack careful thought, do not consider the potential consequences before acting on something or expressing one’s feelings, struggle with being quiet with leisure activities, have no patient to wait for their turn, and they tend to talk excessively. Whenever we see kids with such symptoms, we have to take them to the doctors to check up because ADHD affects their normal life, as well as their relationships with people. Doctors know how to diagnose ADHD and prescribe patients treatment depending on their age. Diamond (2005), points out that ADHD is a genetic disorder and often runs in families. However, ADHD is also caused by environmental factors and mothers who smoke a cigarette and drink alcohol put their unborn kings at higher risks of contracting ADHD. Exposure to environmental hazard material such as lead increases chances of ADHD among children.
According to Sepúlveda, D et al. (2011), there is no known cure for ADHD. However, these conditions can be treated in children and adults with a combination of both medication and therapy. With the medication, the stimulant is always an option to treat ADHD patients. And stimulant medications for the treatment of ADHD have demonstrated a long-standing history of effectiveness when used appropriately; however, they can be misused for a variety of purposes. Evidence strongly indicates that the commitment to treat individuals with symptoms of ADHD should remain strong, and both clinical and prevention efforts should focus on proper identification and prescribing, therapeutic monitoring, patient education, and prescription monitoring. Therapy is the most important options for children or people with ADHD, but it takes more time and support from parents and family members. The doctor will have the medication and therapy schedule treatment for the kids/adults with ADHD. However, medicine always has side effects. Therefore, therapy should be considered as the first choice of ADHD treatment. After subjection to therapy treatment with the professional physician ends, family member to go on with recommended therapy practices at home.
Parents and family member of those patients should stay calm and be patient. Mental problem is not easy to cure. Therefore, show them the love, give more time to practice with them instead of giving them the pills will help them control their behaviors in the future(McClain, Hasty Mills and Murphy, 2017).
I was diagnosed with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD at the age of 16 when a friend of my mom said my behaviors were not normal and I should be taken to a doctor for medical examination. Over time, I have learned more about ADHD, and according to “Everything You Need to Know About ADHD“, (2017) there is no single test that can be done to diagnose ADHD. Doctors conduct three types of test to diagnose ADHD by observing the spectrum of condition severity and the overlapping co-existing conditions which complicates the diagnosis and treatment process. ADHD testing takes hours of talking and evaluating the behavior of an individual for some time. The doctor performs a clinical interview with the patient as well as neuropsychological testing. ADHD condition can be either identified early in life or late during adulthood. Women often suffer from an inattentive form of ADHD. When I was diagnosed with an inattentive-impulsive form of ADHD doctors, put me under treatment and therapy since it was challenging to self-manage this condition.
ADHD is treated using stimulant medication, and this medication has been so beneficial to me because they have helped me improve concentration and focus on my studies. However, without professional therapy sessions, I could not have overcome this challenge. I was subjected to therapy as an attempt to establish a structured behavior with predictable routines which positively increased my attention to instructions. My academic performance improved and began developing a good relationship with my parents and friends. A combination of therapy and medication improved my condition and now I can self-manage this condition.
My parents and adults in my society wanted to shape my behaviour since childhood by setting the very high expectation in rewarding and recognizing good behaviour and at the same tie discouraging bad ones through punishment. Behavioural therapy can be used as a form of ADHD treatment, and both teachers and parents have to participate. Therefore, cognitive behavioural therapy is carried out for a short time, and it is a goal-oriented form of psychotherapy that is hoped to change the kid’s negative pattern of thinking as well as how changing patients’ perspective on her/himself, her ability and future behaviours.
Cognitive behavioural therapy was originally used to treat patients with depression, but it is also effective on treatment of ADHD. It is based on the recognition that cognitions/automatic thoughts which lead to emotional challenges can be controlled. ADHD patients are encouraged to have a healthy internal dialogue to prevent them from working towards aggressive goals and start developing new productive habits by taking calculated risks. Cognitive behavioural therapy is aimed to change irrational thinking pattern in ADHD patients and get them doing the right thing at the right time. Therefore, cognitive behavioural therapy is capable of changing patients distorted thoughts which results to change in behaviour pattern as well as the development of positive emotions (Young, Bramham & Young, 2012).
In addition, diet and nutrient do not cause ADHD. However, food might not be the cure for ADHD, but changing patients’ diet can help and make a difference in their lives. Diet and nutrition have a direct impact on individual cognition, sleep, moods and attention. Eating clean diets high in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and unprocessed grain helps in the development of better emotional health. According to “Everything You Need to Know About ADHD“, (2017) eating food rich in proteins triggers alertness since it induces neurotransmitter in the brain while food rich in carbohydrates triggers drowsiness. Therefore, ADHD patients are encouraged to eat food rich in protein such as fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains to improve their alertness.
Another form of ADHD treatment is exercise. Psychotherapists recommend to “Think of exercise as medication”, and it can be used as a complementary or a replacement of stimulant medication for ADHD patients. Exercise as a therapy can be used along with taking medication to help patients improve their moods and increase attention. Exercise is very important since it turns on the attention system in a patient which is also called executive functions by squeezing the working memory, creating priorities, inhibiting unnecessary thinking and developing sustainable attention. Exercise helps in the release of several important chemicals in the brain such as endorphins, a hormone that regulates pleasure, pain and moods. Therefore, exercise elevates brain’s dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels. These brain chemicals have a great effect on individuals focus, and attention and people living with ADHD don’t have enough supply of these chemicals. Therefore, regular exercise is a form of therapy in the treatment of ADHD since they boost the brains neurotransmitters which regulate learning as well as enriching environmental awareness of what is happening.
Mindfulness and medication is another form of ADHD treatment. Mindfulness therapy is a process of creating self-awareness by paying close attention to one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations from one moment to another moment. This therapy fosters the psychological well-being of an ADHD patient (Lurker, 2014).
Brain training therapy is an effective method of treating ADHD. Brain training aims to improve working memory and increase attention without medication. Working memory influences individual’s brain capacity to hold information in mind by manipulating it and using same knowledge in problem-solving as well as impulse control. Since people living with ADHD cannot hold information in their brains since their attention is always distracted by other things. Improving their working memory capacity enables them to pay close attention to instructions, manage emotions better, resist distractions and learn (Lurker, 2014). However, after joining college, I have realized that some students are abusing stimulant medication to improve their concentration and memory even without being diagnosed with ADHD. In future, I would like to study more about the effects of stimulant medication on people living with ADHD and people who do not have ADHD.
When I was reading through these articles, I discovered that there is a lot of misconception that is associated with ADHD conditions. Some people believe that ADHD can be caused by bad parenting and I have found out that this myth is not true. However, bad parenting may aggravate ADHD behaviours, but parenting styles do not cause ADHD. Parent role is only to set a consistent behaviour limits for their kids, and they do so by reprimanding right action and reprimanding bad behaviours. Another myth is that sugar consumption among children caused hyperactive behaviours and it is not true, and there is no scientific evidence to back this myth. I have also found out that behaviours such as smoking and drinking for women while pregnant exposes children to the high likelihood of developing ADHD. I have found out that strain during child deriver and exposure to lead are the highest caused of ADHD. It is interesting to realize that teen cannot outgrow ADHD condition since it is enshrined in their genetic but they can learn and adapt to live with it and thrive in their adult life.
If I conduct a further study concerning this topic, I will conduct a case study to assess the prevalence of ADHD in my district, analyse major literature and dismantle major myths about the cause of ADHD and available treatment or how it can be managed. I would conduct an empirical data collection through the interview and hospital visits to gather information about ADHD cases and present my finding for peer review.
My research on this topic would entail a cover page with a topic sentence and my name, followed by an abstract; chapter one will have an introduction and background information, research question and problem statement followed by chapter 2. Chapter two will have a literature review, and conceptual framework and chapter 3 with contain research design and methodology. Chapter four will include data presentation, analysis and interpretation and chapter 5 will have the findings, suggestions, and conclusion.
- DIAMOND, A. (2005). Attention-deficit disorder (attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder without hyperactivity): A neurobiologically and behaviorally distinct disorder from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (with hyperactivity). Development and Psychopathology, 17(03).
- Everything You Need to Know About ADHD. (2017). ADDitude. Retrieved 5 December 2017, from https://www.additudemag.com/what-is-adhd-symptoms-causes-treatments
- Lurker, T. M. (2014). ADHD and the benefits of adding therapy.
- McClain, M., Hasty Mills, A. and Murphy, L. (2017).Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity- disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disability.Research in Developmental Disabilities, 70, pp.175-184.
- Sepúlveda, D., Thomas, L., McCabe, S., Cranford, J., Boyd, C., et al. (2011). Misuse of prescribed stimulant medication for adhd and associated patterns of substance use: Preliminary analysis among college students. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 24(6), 551-560.
- Young, S., Bramham, J., & Young, S. (2012). Cognitive-behavioural therapy for ADHD in adolescents and adults: A psychological guide to practice. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.