Hyperactive children: problems of parents or doctors?

Several decades ago, neurologists seriously started talking about a special condition of school-age children – hyperactivity syndrome, often combined with attention and memory disorders. Today, parents are increasingly turning to specialists with similar problems that create difficulties in raising a child and his social adaptation, schooling. The reasons for this state have not been fully identified and its assessment is often subjective, but the influence of stresses and loads, developmental characteristics and other factors has already been proven.

New diagnosis in children or overdiagnosis?

Today, hyperactivity, which is often combined with attention deficit, is already considered a diagnosis in neurology, and even therapeutic measures are taken to correct these conditions. However, not everyone agrees that active and mobile children are bad, it is no less disturbing when babies are lethargic and inactive. Therefore, with regard to such a diagnosis in children, disputes are ongoing not only among parents and teachers, but also among doctors. Naturally, there are situations when such a diagnosis is fully justified, and children need correction of attention and memory, as well as excessive activity that interferes with themselves. But there are also erroneous diagnoses in active, but perfectly healthy babies. In addition, it is incorrect to talk about this at the age of 6-7 years, when children    go through a period of growing up and age crises, during which their behavior can change. In addition, it is also important to take into account the characteristics of temperament and the system of raising a child in a family.

Today, the syndrome called ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is no longer a neurological problem. Children with this condition study in regular classrooms in schools, resulting in academic and disciplinary problems. Without changing the approach to the upbringing of a child both by the parents themselves and by the teachers, such children may develop problems of socialization in the future.  

The influence of stress on the formation of the diagnosis

According to scientists, this syndrome is formed as a result of disorders in the reticular formation, a special brain region that is responsible for motor activity with attention. There are no organic disorders, the structure of the brain center is not disturbed, but there are functional deviations in its work, incoordination of actions. The role of heredity is assumed, in the family there are usually people of the older generation who had similar problems in childhood, but infectious and traumatic influences, as well as stress – physical and emotional, are not excluded. Often, a similar syndrome is combined in children with manifestations of neuroses (tics, urinary incontinence) and nighttime fears, obsessions. It is believed that the root of the problem is a deficiency of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that transmits impulses to inhibitory neurons. The presence of bad habits in family members, a tough upbringing of a child or constant psychological stress complicates the course of such a process. It is the reticular formation that suffers from negative influences first of all, since it is a kind of filter that separates the importance of information and action according to their degree of importance.

Why is attention and memory affected?

If a child is experiencing acute stress, or is constantly exposed to excessive influences of negative factors, the greatest load falls on the zone of the reticular formation. It memorizes new data, it helps in the learning process, separates all received data, sorts them according to their importance and the need for their immediate comprehension and processing. That is, due to it, the attention and memory of the child is formed, it highlights important information from hundreds of incoming data and helps to focus on it until complete. Against the background of ADHD, this role of the reticular formation is partially lost, due to which attention and memory suffer, as well as the activity of children, the filtration of information by importance and the coherence of its assimilation change. As a result, the child cannot assimilate the flow of information, because he cannot isolate the main thing from it, jumping from one to another. Accordingly, with a decrease in attention and memory invariably deteriorates, the child is constantly overexcited and restless, up to irritability and aggression.

A parenting problem or a disease?

The presence of ADHD in children is often confused with the peculiarities of raising a child, when everything is allowed for him and there are no frameworks and restrictions. Therefore, it is necessary to make a diagnosis in conjunction with a psychologist, and not only with a neurological examination and in the presence of typical behavior. This diagnosis is still very new, and often the specialists themselves are still struggling to draw the line where this is the wrong upbringing of the child, and where is the problem of neurology. It is impossible to visually see the problems of the reticular formation, they manifest themselves functionally, and the criteria for making a diagnosis, up to a certain limit, are subjective and based on the opinion and experience of the doctor. Often the problem is the wrong upbringing of the child, when the older generation spoils everything and allows everything, while the parents introduce a lot of prohibitions and restrictions.

The Role of Parents in Defining ADHD

Often, the diagnosis is discussed when parents understand that even with full-fledged upbringing and classes with the child, with a competent approach to organizing the educational process and all the nuances, the baby’s behavior and disinhibition cannot be overcome, interferes with the life of not only the family, but also himself as parts of society. If they don’t want to communicate and play with a child who is rushing by a hurricane and does not give anyone peace, he strains other children and parents, and suffers from this himself – then this is a problem. Therefore, the problem of ADHD is especially acute in school, parents hear the teacher’s comments about the child’s behavior and his progress, all this together allows us to conclude that there are problems and the need to solve them. In this case, the most correct approach would be to see a psychologist, and if the parents’ fears are confirmed, to a neurologist for treatment. 

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