What is ADD/ADHD?
ADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, although
internationally ADHD is the referral term that includes both ADD and ADHD. ADD/ADHD is a term used to
describe a group of children who have many problems in common.
We differentiate between three sub-types namely:
- Predominantly inattentive with little or no sign of impulsivity and hyperactivity
- Predominantly impulsive and hyperactive with little or no attention difficulties
- The combined type - these people are very distractible, hyperactive, and impulsive.
At what age can ADD/ADHD be diagnosed?
Diagnosis should only take place from the age of 5 to 7 years although some of the symptoms could be present from birth. It is important that the symptoms, as per the DSMIV, be present for a period of more than six months in all situations. Symptoms usually appear before the age of seven, although diagnosis may only take place much later.
What could look like or manifest as hyperactivity?
It is very important when considering a diagnosis of ADHD, to rule out other conditions that can look like ADHD.
These could include:
- Allergies, Asthma - Difficulty with breathing can interrupt a child's concentration and cause ADHD-like signs
- Diabetes/Hypoglycaemia - These conditions relate to the quantity of sugar in the blood and can cause changes in concentration and activity levels
- Hearing or Visual problems - The inability to see or hear what is going on in the classroom can lead to behavioural outbursts, incompletion of work and disturbing of classmates and hyperactivity
- Iron Deficiency - Can lead to attention and impulsivity problems
- Lead Intoxication - Lead intoxication can lead to hyperactivity
- Learning problems - If a child is frustrated from learning disabilities, he or she may have ADHD-like behaviour
- Emotional difficulties - This could be due to a divorce, death in the family, an accident that could manifest with hyperactivity symptoms
IT IS THEREFORE CRUCIAL TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO NOT MERELY TREAT SYMPTOMS BUT THAT WE HEAL AND TREAT THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM.
What causes ADD/ADHD?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of ADD/ADHD is unknown.
We do know the following:
- It is neurological - meaning that there is a imbalance of certain neurotransmitters;
- It is biochemical - meaning a deficiency in Prostaglandin's E1, E3 (PE1,PE3);
- It is an 80% genetic condition.
- How many children in south africa have ADD/ADHD?
According to the most recent data, approximately between 8 and 10% of the South African population have
ADD/H. It could be present from birth (often not recognised) or early childhood and usually persists throughout a person's lifetime. IT IS NOT LIMITED TO CHILDREN ONLY!