Evaluation: Again more children with an ADHD diagnosis

Evaluation: Again more children with an ADHD diagnosis

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More and more children diagnosed with ADHD
More and more children are being diagnosed with “ADHD”. This is shown by a current study by the Scientific Institute of the AOK health insurance company. The causes and backgrounds of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have not yet been fully clarified. The diagnosis is also controversial in specialist circles.

Children are usually diagnosed
Adults also have ADHD, but the diagnosis mainly affects the youngest. In the past, experts even warned of a "generation of ADHD". New numbers now show that the number of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has increased slightly.

Three key symptoms
"ADHD is characterized by three core symptoms - an impairment of attention (attention disorder), impulse control (impulsivity) and activity (hyperactivity)", explains the professional association of pediatricians on its website "kinderaerzte-im-netz" .de “. However, the experts also know that the symptoms can be very different. Some children can hardly concentrate on a task any longer, some are troubled by restlessness and others are more dreamy and absent.

Most common psychological diagnosis in childhood
As the dpa news agency reports, the proportion of children with ADHD continues to increase slightly. An analysis by the AOK Scientific Institute showed that 4.4 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 insured with the AOK health insurance received the diagnosis of ADHD; in 2006 it was 2.5 percent. According to the information, in 2014 boys were diagnosed with 6.4 percent significantly more ADHD than girls with 2.2 percent.

ADHD, often referred to as “fidgety syndrome”, is the most common psychological diagnosis in childhood. The increasing rate of ADHD diagnoses is also said to indicate that more attention is being paid to the disease by doctors, families and those around them today.

Causes of ADHD have not been finally clarified
The exact causes of ADHD have not yet been fully clarified. According to health experts, genetic factors can play a role, as can environmental influences such as nicotine, alcohol and medication use by expectant mothers. Recently, a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology showed that taking acetaminophen during pregnancy increases the risk of ADHD and autism.

Affected children are easily distracted
According to experts, children with attention disorders often stand out due to increased distractibility, lack of concentration, stopping work and avoiding exertion. They find it difficult to carry out predetermined tasks or to adhere to rules. They often lack the patience for games, handicrafts and similar activities. Children with ADHD often behave impulsively. This behavior is often equated with aggressiveness. They find it difficult to classify into a community.

Signs from a very young age
Signs of ADHD can usually be observed even in toddlers, but are clearly recognizable at the age of five to six years. If the symptoms mentioned impair long-term coexistence with others, it should be clarified whether ADHD could be the cause. However, it has been criticized in the past that the diagnosis of ADHD is made too often and incorrectly. Doctors have become more careful about this.

Don't take medication right away
Health experts advise ADHD on therapeutic measures such as behavior therapy. Treatment with medicines is only an option if non-drug measures are insufficient. But research shows that more and more adults are taking medication for ADHD. According to experts, the main problem is an active ingredient. For example, scientists have publicly raised doubts about the effects of Ritalin. Medications with the active ingredient methylphenidate like the well-known Ritalin have been standard therapy for ADHD for years.

Help offer for parents
Parents of affected children should pay attention to clearly structured processes in everyday family life, behave consistently and strengthen their child's self-confidence. Studies have shown that it can be helpful to limit children's TV and computer times and to encourage them to do outdoor activities or sports. Therapeutic painting can also have a positive effect.

In addition, parent training can defuse the family situation. At the beginning of the new school year, the AOK federal association offers everyone interested an “ADHD parent trainer” on the Internet. This offer of help for "difficult everyday situations" is based on that of Prof. Dr. Manfred Döpfner and Dr. Stephanie Schürmann developed and established "Therapy Program for Children with Hyperkinetic and Oppositional Problem Behavior - THOP" as well as on the self-help book "Jiggly and Defiant". (ad)

Author and source information

Video: ADHD: From Assessment to Intervention (May 2022).