Many of the behavioral pathologies commonly exhibit attention disorders. Sternberg (200d) identifies a number of pathologies. His examples include: chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Fibromyalgia, Autism and finally Attention Deficit Disorders with or without Hyperactivity (Sternberg, 2009). This write up will specifically look at ADHD as one of the disorders that affect an individual’s ability to focus attention analyzing its possible causes and treatment options.
Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a behavioral syndrome which is normally accompanied by inattentiveness and destructibility, restlessness, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, inability to sit still and difficulty to concentrate on one thing for along period of time (Sternberg, 2009). The disorder mostly affects children. However, Likierman and Muter (2011), notes that the number of adults affected by the disorder is rising each year. The disorder is three times more common in males than in females and occurs in between 3-6 percent of all children world wide. In most cases, it affects the learning ability and the socialization process of the children. Sternberg (2009) noted that the disease is also more rampant in the United States as compared to other parts of the world.
According to Likierman and Muter (2011), the causes of the disorder can be categorized into the biological and the environmental factors. The biological factors are numerous. First is the child’s temperament which is instrumental in the formation of their attitudes and personality. Studies have also shown that the disorder can also be transferred through genes. Whenever one of the twins has the disorder, the possibility of the other contacting the disorder will be very high. The disorder can also be inherited especially from male parents. The disorder is also related to brain injuries resulting from birth trauma and other pre-birth problems. Such problems may have caused the destruction of the brain structures which affects the blood flow and therefore the amount of oxygen reaching the brain (Sternberg, 2009).
Symptoms of ADHD
Likierman and Muter (2011) noted that any diagnosis of the disorder is only possible when a child has shown certain symptoms for at least six months. The symptoms must be those that are not expected of their age or level of intelligence. The first and mostly common symptom is their difficulty in paying attention. Walsh (2011) notes that most often, the sufferers of the disorder fail to pay close attention to detail. In certain cases, the child may make a number of errors even in a simple play.
According to Sternberg (2009), the victims of the disorder also have a tendency of failing to accomplish tasks because of their inability to focus their attention on one activity for long. This may complicate the learning process of the child. Sometimes such children may not seem to bother to listen to the instructions given to them thus obviously fail to accomplish tasks. They usually tend to avoid tasks that require sustained mental application. The victims are also easily destructed and very forgetful.
Sternberg, (2009) identified the second group of symptoms as those are related to hyperactivity. Such symptoms include: excessive running around accompanied with climbing of things and too much of noise whenever engaged in a play. He also explained that the victims can easily leave others with whom they seated an expectedly which is common in a class setting.
Third are symptoms as identified by Walsh (2010) are those related to impulsivity. Examples are: shouting their answers even before the questions being asked is complete, lack of patience. The victims may not wait where people are to do something in turns. Likierman and Muter (2010) adds that such children also find themselves interrupting on others and talking excessively without caring about other’s response. All these symptoms must be witnessed in more than a setting, usually at home and in school though they may also be very evidenced in an hospital setting.
According to Walsh (2010), the disorder is usual diagnosed by a doctor. This is done by analyzing the reports from psychologists, speech, therapists, teachers and other relevant personalities to help them observe and assess the child. This is because there is no specific diagnostic test for the disorder. Doctors rely on the victim’s history of symptoms, medical history, past psychiatric history, and educational history. Other factors are the reports of the various evaluations carried out on the child’s temperament and personality, the history of the family and the social circumstances of the family (Walsh, 2010).
Sternberg (2009) noted that the treatment of the disorder strictly depends on the findings of the diagnosis. This means that treatment administered to every patient will be unique. According to the US research, medication is the preferable treatment or the disorder. The most used medications are called amphetamine-like stimulants like Ritalin which is effective in the reduction of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It can also help restore the child’s attention ability.
Psychologically, the patients may need to be helped through cognitive therapy, anxiety management, psychotherapy and trainings in social skills. Such education based management programs like individual or group learning supports are also necessary. The parents are advised to learn and utilize various management techniques to assist the victims. These may include such practices as strict following of the daily routine and setting self explanatory boundaries by giving clear and specific simple instructions to the child (Likierman & Muter, 2011).
Many studies have shown that the majority of the children victims easily outgrow the disorder when they reach their early adulthood stage. However, there is need for treatment because it has also been revealed that a good percentage of victims may have their problems persisting till adulthood. There is also need for further research especially on the possibility of coming up with a specific test for diagnosing the disorder.