Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), this term has become infamous especially amongst middle aged mothers who have young children or toddlers going to kindergarten, play school. I have come across many mothers in their late 30s who are obsessed by their child’s hyper irritability and over activity, and the frequent complaints they hear from the wards’ schools. Of course, having sympathy about such mothers on one hand (because they ought to have the stamina and patience to control these over active children); I also want to put forth a word of caution that not all over/hyper activity can be termed as ADHD. This is where the parents as well as the school staff have to pay heed.
Clinically ADHD is characterized by inconsistent development coupled with chronic levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity (scahill 2000) Also the rates of ADHD is 3 times higher in boys than girls. Though there is strong evidence of genetic factors influencing the expression of ADHD, we cannot deny that psycho social, environmental and cultural factors also have a bearing on the same. There is no independent diagnostic tests for ADHD, thus leaving us to rely on clinical symptoms largely. As mentioned, short durations of hyperactivity, impulsivity by the child should not be thought of as ADHD by parents or teachers. Chronic and persistent patterns of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity severe than in an individual of same age and/or development (early development usually at the age of 6-7years is taken as criteria to diagnose ADHD), which cannot be associated by any other mental disorders)is classified as ADHD. There is elaborate literature on research studies pertaining to the diagnosis, classification, treatment with different modalities and prognosis.
It is unfortunate to know that a variable degree of stigma presents in parents about the acceptability of their child to be impaired by ADHD or hyperkinetic disorder(terminology used internationally). Never the less caution is must about false positive identification of ADHDs in pre-school kids. Initially much experience and time is required to be invested in the diagnosis and confirmation of ADHD. Then only we can think of treating it. Usually children with ADHD have pronounced impairments in their academics as well as socio-emotional development.
Similarly variety of treatment options exist for ADHD ranging from psycho stimulant drugs to mantra meditation, counselling, Yoga & Mindfulness based cognitive therapy. Complementary therapies like Yoga and Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and so on are among the top 10 therapies practiced in the west for treating children and adolescents. Yoga is an ancient Indian science which is the oldest preventive and wellness treatise known. The more popular Astanga Yoga of Patanjali Maharshi proposes 8 principles viz., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. The latter four constituting the Antaranga Yoga serve as step-wise guide for practicing meditation.