You have had trouble concentrating at work. It seems as if you’ll go stir crazy if you have to wait more than five minutes for anything. The problem could be attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
What is ADHD? We hear the acronym tossed around a lot when it comes to children, but what does it really mean in a physical sense? For someone affected by this disorder, there are many symptoms, with the most obvious being a person losing focus and having trouble concentrating on their work. Their minds wander to other things and are brought back to task when someone calls attention to their mental drifting. their train of thought.
People suffering from ADHD often seem to fidget all the time, or, as has been described by parent of children with ADHD, as if they are driven by a motor. They can’t sit still for any length of time. The only thing that calms them down is to keep moving or doing some sort of activity. While this is good for the student, in a classroom this can be distracting to the other students and the teacher. ADHD was often mistaken for bad behavior until it became better understood, but there are still people biased against those with ADHD at school and in the workplace because people with ADHD are ‘wired differently’.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is often misconstrued as bad behavior or poor performance. A child or adult can be labeled by their behavior when there is actually a legitimate health-related explanation. Many parents chalk it up to being a hyper child and let it go, especially if the child still manages to make decent grades and have friends.
Many adults who miss being diagnosed as children only discover what they have when their children are diagnosed with the disorder. The symptoms sound so familiar that they finally understand that they have the disorder and have passed it along to their children. They feel relief but also sadness at the years of turmoil that could have been avoided. They might also feel guilt for having passed it along.
The causes of ADHD are varied. In addition to genetics, there are a number of theories about the causes, including possible chemical imbalance, brain trauma due to injury, toxins, other brain disorders, and less than proper care during pregnancy.
The brain stem is the first thing to develop in a fetus, so if the mother suffers from alcoholism, smoking, or substance abuse, the chances of ADHD may increase. Not getting enough nutrients in the diet during pregnancy also affects fetal development.
It has been hinted that the diet of the child can cause ADHD symptoms. According to doctors and researchers, this is not the case. However, poor or improper diet does affect attention span and concentration, especially a diet high in sugar and artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives.
A child that is hungry will pay more attention to their stomach than their teacher. They will often fidget and high or low blood sugar will sometimes cause them to ‘act out’. Lack of nutrients can cause fatigue which also makes it hard to concentrate in class. On other cases, eating may trigger the ADHD symptoms.
When we were teaching, one student got wired after drinking cola and another after consuming a popular orange drink. Once we noticed how different his manner was in the morning versus after lunch, and the fact that he had a rash around his mouth after the orange drink, we suggested to his parents they look at his lunch box. He went from being one of the most difficult students in the school that teachers and other students dreaded having to deal with to a model pupil it was a pleasure to have in class who had lots of friends.
ADHD is diagnosed through a series of tests and questions. A person is not even suspected of the disorder unless they display symptoms for at least six months. So many other social and mental issues can be the cause of ADHD-like behaviior, and medicines too, so it is crucial to be detailed when the testing for ADHD.
If you suspect that you or your child suffers from ADHD, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor. Be sure to eat right and exercise. The food you eat may not be a trigger for your symptoms, but it can help you manage your symptoms better, and exercise can stop more extreme forms of acting out.
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