India has a history of ignoring mental illnesses. The societal stigma surrounding these issues is not unheard of. The stigma attached to the mental illnesses is often very prejudiced, whereby it limits the patient’s capacity to receive adequate attention. Although the situation has not greatly improved, India is observing certain changes. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD is usually observed in young children. Lately, some schools are beginning to realize the importance of giving special attention to students with ADHD. It is true that many studies report prevalence of ADHD in children under the age of 18. Recent observations have brought to the attention the fact that when adult ADHD is not identified in initial stages, it can hinder employability and pleasant social behavior. ADHD is considered quiescent and not terminal. Hence, it is not widely discussed.
ADHD is more invasive than people seem to know. Although it has been proved that smoking and drinking during pregnancy heightens the risk of children being born with ADHD. Some believe that it may be hereditary and genetic. An Indian study conducted in a primary school in Coimbatore indicated that about 11.32% of primary school students had ADHD. The prevalence was higher in males than in females. Only one-third of the children diagnosed with ADHD are girls according to the survey. People identified with ADHD face difficulties in paying attention and often indulge in impulsive behavior as the name suggests. This is often considered normal child behavior until the age of 4 or 5 and therefore, people don’t get to know that their child has ADHD.
The symptoms seem abnormal only when the child is made to sit inside a classroom for 8 hours a day. It is often diagnosed very late in time and such behavior is usually dismissed as the child’s fundamental personality. It is difficult for teachers and parents to make this distinction because they are not trained for it. Schools in India must employ a professional who can identify these symptoms early in a child and can give them adequate attention to ensure that their social behavior is not impaired.
It is a common misconception that ADHD is not seen in adults. Students who are left undiagnosed in their childhood often lead difficult lives as they grow up. Specifically, in India, bad academic scores are directly linked to delinquency. Bad scores could be a result of ADHD which can be treated successfully when identified. Parents and teachers in school must make the right choices for their children.
ADHD is most commonly treated using ‘Behavioral Therapy’ and sometimes even medication. If the school is supportive, it can accommodate the child in proper ways and provide appropriate interventions. Children who receive adequate attention and the fortunate chance to grow up around healthy students are likely to overcome the condition. Children with ADHD who do not receive adequate attention often portray disruptive behavior on social occasions. The disruptions are not limited to the child’s inability to pay attention in a classroom, but further affect the child’s relationship with family and friends. Behavioral therapy helps control unpleasant behavior. It motivates and reinforces positive behavior in all aspects.
Parents, teachers and the concerned child can take the therapy to help the child grow in a more understanding environment where he/she is encouraged to improve, instead of being reprimanded for his/her condition. Therapists usually teach such children to express their feelings in positive ways that will not cause any trouble to anyone. In some cases, where it is not treated right, individuals with ADHD exhibit unpredictable, disorganized and impulsive behaviors. They may seem overly aggressive, sensitive, emotional and basically unstable. In most cases, it affects their relationships with their friends, family, teachers, co-workers, partners, and so on. Adults with ADHD suffer from social difficulties due to miscommunication and misunderstanding. It is difficult to judge the condition in adults because there is no statistical evidence for the same.
It is understandable why they face such difficulties. Effective interaction requires patience, attention and a sense of responsibility. It is very sad to know that adults with ADHD are not identified due to ignorance and blatant prejudices of the society. Treating the condition early in time can greatly benefit not just the child, but everyone associated with the child.
Picture Credits : herald.co.zw