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Attention deficit hyperkinetic disorder

Q: What is the best modality of treatment for attention deficit hyperkinetic disorder (ADHD) in a 6-yr old child through allopathic medicine? Is a complete cure possible? What is the future for such a child?

A:Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a biologically based disorder, which involves a pattern of decreased attention span interspersed with periods of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Both ADD and ADHD are similar conditions and are often difficult to distinguish in children. Children with ADD have a very short attention span, while those with ADHD are hyperactive and may not be able to sit in one place for long. Some children might naturally be more active than others but this does not amount to ADD. The disorder is more common in males and is mostly observed in children. Though traits can be carried over to adulthood, the disease is eminently treatable in childhood, and the symptoms can be easily brought under control. In most cases, the disorder comes to light when the child fails to do well in school. The school counsellor may test for signs of hyperactivity in the child. The diagnosis for ADHD is given only when the counsellor feels that the child's hyperactivity is interfering with his daily routine. Since ADHD is not a disease, it cannot be cured. Most children with ADHD may however, be prescribed medicines like Methylphenidate (Ritalin) to curb their hyperactivity. A dual approach however is necessary to bring the condition under control. The child may need to be put in special education classes where the pace is set by the child and he is not unduly pressured. Integrative education is the new form of classroom teaching that is of much help to children with lack of concentration. In this form of education, the child studies at his own pace and academic education is supplemented with behaviour therapy to mould his behaviour to social norms. Children with ADHD usually grow up to be useful citizens of the society. If the disorder is diagnosed and treated early, these children adapt themselves to the ways of the society and may have no problems in adjusting to the normal routine. Though the treatment measures used may cause some stunting of growth in children, most children catch up later on. The prognosis for children with ADHD is usually good.

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