CAN DIET HELP IN ADHD IN ADULTS AND CHILDREN? : AN INSIGHT OF ADHD FROM A DIETITIAN’S VIEW
What is ADHD?
ADHD is an acronym used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is one of the most common disorders found in children and teens that sometimes continue to adulthood. ADHD is a complex brain disorder which leads to a significant difference in brain development and brain activity that has a potential impact on activities like paying attention, managing time, organizing yourself, setting goals, ability to control yourself, ability to sit still, etc.
What are the various causes of ADHD?
The various causes of this defect include:
- Genetics or family history has always played the most important role. Children with a relative to this disorder have high chances of suffering from ADHD.
- Premature birth of the child is yet another significant cause of the disorder.
- Any injury in the brain can also lead to developing ADHD.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco by the mother during pregnancy is another cause of the disorder.
Extreme stress dealt with by the mother during pregnancy can also lead to the development of ADHD in the child born
What are the signs and symptoms of ADHD?
Although most of the kids find it difficult to pay attention and follow the commands etc. But, this problem is much wider in kids and adults suffering from ADHD. It is in a broader and larger perspective. So, it becomes all the more important to diagnose it as early as possible so as to provide effective treatment. Generally, these signs are studied under three broad domains. Let us discuss the signs and symptoms of this disease in some detail.
- Not paying attention to details and descriptions
- Difficulty in organizing tasks and activities
- Unable to concentrate on activities like during lectures, studying, work in offices, etc.
- Can easily be distracted
- Not able to concentrate even if someone is trying to talk to you
- Forgetting daily routine activities sometimes
- Not following instructions and failure to finish the activity and tasks on time
- Avoiding tasks requiring concentration and mental efforts
- Losing things necessary for various tasks or activities
- Squirming, fidgeting or bouncing while sitting
- Talking a lot
- Restless attitude towards everything
- Always moving mode is on
- Running or climbing in situations, even if, not necessary
Not able to do things quietly
- Unable to wait for your own turn in conversations and interrupting in between
- Blurting out answers in between
- The tendency to interrupt others always
What are the different types of ADHD?
There are mainly three types of ADHD which are discussed below:
- Inattentive type
- Hyperactive-impulsive type
- Combination type
These three types of ADHD are mainly distinguished on the basis of signs and symptoms as discussed under the previous heading. The sign and symptom may change, so the patient might suffer from one type of ADHD at one time and at the other time from other forms.
For inattentive type ADHD, the patient needs to fulfill six out of nine symptoms as previously discussed. Similarly, for Hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD, the patient needs to fit in six out of the nine descriptions given. For the combination type ADHD, the patient needs to fulfill the guidelines of the other two types of ADHD in a combined manner, i.e. six symptoms out of each of them.
How to diagnose ADHD?
After studying the symptoms and types of ADHD, diagnosing it does not seem to be a difficult task. Parents or doctors can easily ascertain the existence of the disorder if the child exhibits weird behavior and attracts these symptoms.
What is the position of India with regard to ADHD?
From the ancient era, ADHD has never been considered a disorder in India. But, with changing times and recent developments, Indian society is ready to accept the existence of ADHD. According to a recent study, the global rate of ADHD is 5.29%. However, the lack of any particular standardized guideline in our country regarding this disorder leaves us with no exact data in this regard. But, the disorder is acquiring new trends in India and soon is going to be added to the list of health disorders.
How to treat ADHD?
After diagnosing the disorder, it becomes very important to treat it. It can be effectively treated in the following ways:
- The patients should be given behavioral therapy in order to reduce the symptoms. When therapy and training are given, patients find it comfortable to express their feelings. These therapies and training should be designed in such a way so as to promote skill training and develop positive attitude in them so as to deal with the situations.
- If the disorder is very severe, generally you need to switch to It involves giving the patient medicines of two kinds: stimulants and non-stimulants depending on the gravity of the situation.
- Psychotherapy can also be given to patients suffering from this disorder.
- To deal with children suffering from ADHD, parents should be given proper coaching as for how to best deal with such a child.
- Even in schools, it is equally important that teachers provide equal support and tackle such children with appropriate behavior.
What role can diet play in dealing with ADHD?
Although there is no definite science behind nutrition and this disorder. But, one can base their arguments on the impact that certain food items have on the behavior. Let us discuss it in some detail.
- Caffeine is proven to increase alertness in individuals.
- Chocolates are proven to change the mood and behavior of an individual.
- Low glycemic foods inculcate behavior control and improve the performance of ADHD patients.
- Vitamins and minerals tend to improve brain performance by supplying amino acids.
- Processed foods and soft drinks are shown to trigger hyperactivity in individuals.