|A doctor talks to a child diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). — Photo tienphong.vn|
HÀ NỘI — As more and more children are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), experts are telling families to look for early detection and quickly seek treatment to avoid possible long-term effects.
Six-year-old Thành (not his real name) is a radiant and adorable young boy to everyone who first meets him. But within minutes people realise how over-energetic and hyperactive he is.
As Thành entered Grade 1, he constantly lost focus in class and had a low attention span when doing homework. At times, he burst out laughing or screaming all of the sudden.
Initially, Thành’s family thought that their child was just overactive. However, when they decided to follow advice and took Thành to the doctor, they realised the boy showed symptoms of ADHD, a common developmental disorder in children aged three to 11.
Dương (not his real name), another boy aged 11 in Hà Nội, was also taken to the National Institute of Mental Health due to his restlessness.
His family had to hire two nannies to take care of him, but after a while, they were unable to stand his mischief and both quit the job.
It took two years of treatment for Dương to improve.
ADHD symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. In Việt Nam, 3.2 to 9.3 per cent of children are diagnosed with ADHD, while 67 per cent among this group also experience other psychological disorders.
Doctor Thành Ngọc Minh, head of the psychology department at the National Children’s Hospital said that ADHD is more common in boys than girls. Symptoms would usually appear before the child turns seven.
Nguyễn Thị Kiều Tiên, head of the psychology department at HCM City Hospital of Mental Health said: “ADHD is a common mental disorder, its symptoms sometimes vary in different developmental stages of each individual, but at times it is also very similar to other neurodevelopmental or mental disorders.”
Early detection and treatment
Doctor Nguyễn Mai Hương, deputy head of the psychology department at the National Children’s Hospital said 67 per cent of children with ADHD have at least one co-existing condition, while the remaining 33 per cent have two or more. These can include intellectual disability, anxiety disorder, movement disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and bipolar disorder.
While not dangerous, if the child’s condition was not promptly diagnosed and treated, their psychology, behaviours and quality of life could be considerably affected.
They could have difficulty interacting with other people, academic failure, or face isolation from their peers.
These children could also be at risk of other psychological disorders such as anxiety, or stress. They can easily be disappointed and have low self-esteem, which could pressure them to distance themselves from others and be at risk of depression.
More than 50 per cent of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue to exhibit symptoms during adolescence, while more than half of them experience social skills deficits in adulthood.
Therefore, it is advised that if a child is showing symptoms of ADHD, they should be taken to the paediatric psychology department for early detection and intervention.
Treatment with medicine often takes a minimum of 12 months. However, experts noted that one of the common mistakes is that some families halt the treatment process on their own, which leads to relapse and serious and irreversible consequences. — VNS