ADHD: everything you need to know about the phenomenon

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a health condition that causes difficulties in concentration, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. People who suffer from ADHD often find it difficult to focus their attention on a single task and find it difficult to sit idle for long periods of time – a situation that significantly affects studies, work and personal life.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder exists in children and adults and is a common phenomenon, and most of those who suffer from it are looking for drug treatment that will give them an answer and solve the problem.

What are the types of ADHD?

ADHD can be divided into three main types. The first type is “people who have difficulty concentrating”. People with this type of ADHD have difficulty focusing on one thing, completing tasks, and following instructions. The second type is called “hyperactive and impulsive”, and includes difficulty sitting still and doing nothing, a tendency to interrupt other people while speaking and impatience when waiting for their turn. In people with this type of ADHD, hyperactive and impulsive behavior can be seen mainly.

The third and most common type is “a combination of difficulty concentrating and hyperactive-impulsive behavior”, people with this combined type show symptoms of difficulty concentrating and hyperactivity at the same time.

How is ADHD diagnosed in adults and children?

The diagnosis is made by a doctor who evaluates the symptoms of ADHD. The symptoms must last for six months or more in order to be diagnosed with the disorder, and these must meet certain criteria necessary for the diagnosis. In addition, the doctor must also evaluate other health problems. There is no single test that can reliably diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults or children, and many times the doctor will refer the subject to further evaluations by an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder specialist and a psychiatrist.

For the diagnosis of ADHD in children, it is important to talk to the teaching staff at the school where the child attends, since schools regularly examine children in order to assess situations that may affect their academic achievements.

Today there is a lot of awareness of this common phenomenon, which encourages many parents to take their children for diagnosis. According to estimates, 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults suffer from ADHD, which are usually diagnosed in childhood.

What causes ADHD?

Despite the high prevalence of ADHD, doctors and researchers are still not sure what causes the condition. tend to believe that the condition has neurological (brain) origins, as well as a genetic component. Various studies indicate that a low level of dopamine in the brain may be the cause of ADHD. Dopamine is a chemical substance known as a “neurotransmitter”, whose function, among other things, is to transmit messages between the cells in the brain and the nervous system. Dopamine plays a role in creating emotional responses and muscle activation.

Drug treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

There are two main types of medication used to treat ADHD. The first type is stimulant drugs (also known as stimulants), drugs that stimulate the central nervous system are the most common treatment for ADHD. These drugs work by increasing neurotransmitters in the brain called “dopamine” and “neurepinephrine” (as mentioned, these are molecules whose role, among other things, is to transmit messages between the cells in the brain and the nervous system).

The commonly used stimulant drugs are: amphetamine-based stimulant drugs (Adderall, Vitons, Etnet) and methylphenidate-type drugs (Concerta, Ritalin). In adults and children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, these stimulants actually cause relaxation, which leads to a decrease in hyperactivity and an improvement in the ability to pay attention.

The second type is non-stimulant drugs, you can consider using them when the stimulant drugs did not improve the symptoms as desired, or when they cause severe side effects. Some of these drugs work by increasing levels of neuroepinephrine in the brain, which is thought to help attention and memory. There are two types of medications: atomoxetine (Strata) and antidepressants such as nortriptyline (Pemlor).

There are other non-stimulant drugs that help ADHD sufferers – although it is not fully known how these drugs help, there is evidence that these drugs improve the activity of certain chemicals in the part of the brain involved in attention and memory. One such drug for example is a drug called clonidine which was originally intended for the treatment of high blood pressure.

However, the drug treatment for ADHD has side effects – the doctor and the patient together adjust the type of treatment and the correct dosage in order to reduce these effects. The more common side effects of stimulants and non-stimulants are quite similar, however they are usually more significant with the stimulants. The side effects can be: headaches, sleep problems, stomach aches, nervousness and mood changes, weight loss, dry mouth. Rare side effects of stimulant drugs: high blood pressure, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts or actions. Rare side effects of non-stimulant drugs: convulsions and suicidal thoughts or actions.

The side effects of ADHD medications can be unpleasant and interfere with daily life. It is important to know that with a genetic test for the adjustment of psychiatric drugs called Neuropremogen, which is carried out by a simple saliva sample, you can adjust the drug that is most suitable for you and the right dose for you, thus preventing the possible side effects of the treatment.

The writer is a child and adolescent psychiatrist

By Editor