ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is defined as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. People suffering from this disorder have difficulties concentrating, being attentive, completing a task, staying still without moving. This disorder affects 5 to 12% of schoolchildren and affects boys to a greater extent (8 to 10%) than girls (3 to 4%).

What causes ADHD?

The exact cause is not perfectly known. In fact, ADHD is mainly explained by an imbalance in the neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain. Several genetic or environmental factors could be at the origin of this disorder.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD is characterized by a wide range of symptoms that can be grouped into 3 categories.

  • Hyperactivity: the person with the disorder talks excessively, moves constantly, is unable to sit still, etc. 
  • Attention deficit: the person with the disorder has difficulty organizing, is unable to concentrate, switches from one activity to another, often loses objects, etc.
  • Impulsivity: the person with the disorder often interrupts speech, is unconscious in the face of danger, is unable to wait his or her turn, etc.

Naturally, the presence of some of these symptoms does not automatically imply an ADHD. The diagnosis is based on a thorough assessment.

What are the treatments for ADHD?

Several medications are available to treat ADHD. However, it is important to know that drugs alone are usually not enough. Indeed, psychosocial support combined with medication is more effective than medication alone.

Traditionally, the basic drug treatment for ADHD has been composed of so-called psychostimulant drugs. These treatments are available in different formulations to meet the needs of each patient. When psychostimulants are not tolerated or are ineffective, other classes of drugs may be recommended.

Some parents are reluctant to give psychostimulants to their children, but it is important to know that these drugs are not addictive and can greatly improve the quality of life of affected children and their families.

If you have any questions about ADHD, your pharmacist is here to answer them.

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