Having frolicked for half a day in kindergarten and having walked in the park until you are blue in the face, the kid continues his fun at home. His battery never sits down, and only at night, when it finally subsides, can homework be lowered from ear to foot. The raging energy of the child, his irrepressible mobility often put parents in a dead end.
And what if the cause is hyperactivity, which doctors so often say today?
Today, the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (abbreviated as ADHD or simply hyperactivity) is from 5 to 15% of children aged 7-10 years. For comparison: “school neurosis,” that is, impaired adaptation to kindergarten or school — with crying, headaches, and frequent colds — occurs in 5% of children. There is no doubt: the last ten years, hyperactivity is leading among neurological childhood diseases.
However, about this problem, humanity has been known before. In the 30s of the twentieth century, the Soviet psychologist P.P. Blonsky noticed that in every school and in every class there are children who are out of the general line.
He called them “disorganizers.” The term “hyperactivity” appeared later, at the congress of neurologists in Oxford in the near 1962.
By the beginning of the current millennium, the number of hyperactive children has increased markedly. And although the doctors still haven’t disclosed the exact reasons, the main accused in the case is … medicine itself.
Thanks to her rapid development, children began to appear who had never had a chance before. Today, about a third of births in Russia are cesarean section. Approximately half of the “lucky ones” (which is 15% of all newborns) receive a diagnosis of “perinatal encephalopathy”.
This brain damage develops due to the fact that the baby is too sharply on this light and his brain does not have time to adapt to the pressure difference in the womb and in the airspace. Other methods of delivery, such as the use of obstetric forceps, may also have the same effect.
There are other prerequisites. Hyperactivity can provoke infections with high fever in the first year of life, head injuries up to 3 years. Children, often suffering from respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases, are also at risk.
Toxins, which produce harmful bacteria and viruses, high fever, lack of nutrients due to reduced appetite during illness – all this has a negative impact on the brain. The most dangerous periods are when it matures at a brisk pace.
The brain is very vulnerable in the first year of life (when the cerebral cortex grows, which is responsible for higher mental functions), around 3 years, between 5 and 6 years and at 8, 9-10, 12 and 16-18 years. Adds oil to the fire and bad ecology.
In cities where industry is booming, children with ADHD are born more often. Iodine deficiency regions (most of which are in Russia) are also unfavorable, because this element plays an important role in the formation of the nervous system.
Sometimes the conditions for the development of hyperactivity occur at the stage of pregnancy. Everyone knows about the evil of smoking and alcohol, but that the lack of moderate physical exertion and an improperly balanced diet are no less harmful, future moms forget.
And finally, in boys, this syndrome occurs three times more often than in girls. The female fetus is naturally more resistant to the negative effects of any kind – evolution has so ordered.
Scientists have concluded that hyperactive children do not have enough energy, which they receive from the outside world and which is enough for a healthy person.
The brain is conditionally divided into three parts: the block of regulation of tone and wakefulness, the block of reception and processing of information and the block controlling behavior. All information that we receive from the outside from the senses is converted into energy through electrical impulses between neurons. This energy normally accumulates in the tonus block, which can be compared with a battery.
But in hyperactive children, the connections between neurons are broken, and some of the energy is lost. For recharging, they lack the stimulation that 5 senses are capable of providing.
To satisfy energy hunger, a hyperactive child begins to exploit his sixth sense. And intuition has nothing to do with it.
It is about the so-called muscular feeling – the ability of man and animals to sense the movement of parts of their body in space. It was first described by the Russian scientist I.M.
Sechenov in the 20s of the last century. By the way, this is the most powerful and most important of all the senses, and it is thanks to him that our motor responses are so well coordinated.
Excessive mobility of hyperactive children due to the need to get as much energy as possible through the work of muscles. They run, jump, fidget to feed the weakened tonus block, otherwise they will literally fall asleep on the go.
Hyperactivity is primarily manifested in the inability to self-control, however, the child learns to fully consciously act no earlier than 5-7 years. This means that a baby can be diagnosed with ADHD only after 4.5–5 years. Until that time, all children move a lot, reluctantly obey their parents, and often break the rules.
It is also important not to confuse hyperactivity with bad manners or behavioral changes amid a stressful situation (relocation, divorce of parents). In the last two cases, the atypical antics of the child is trying to inform adults about their problem.
A hyperactive child will behave inadequately almost always and everywhere.
ADHD has three main symptoms: difficulty concentrating, impulsive behavior, increased motor activity. In young children, the boundary between the norm and the deviation is blurred, and the doctor should evaluate these parameters. Although some guidelines for parents do exist.
Increased physical activity is manifested in the fact that after 4 years the baby cannot sit quietly for a minute: he now and then jumps up from the chair, constantly breaks down somewhere and runs away. His movements seem redundant and inorganic. The contrast is especially noticeable in the playground.
But at an earlier age, these symptoms should not be alarming.
Impulsiveness means the inability to adhere to the rules adopted in the family or in another team. You can always agree with an ordinary kid: say “you” to the elder, do not take toys from other children.
A hyperactive child, on the contrary, is always on his mind. He does only what he wants.
At the same time, he perfectly understands what he is being asked for, but cannot cope with his emotions. If after 4.5 years the baby does not feel the frame, this is an occasion to think.
Difficulties with concentration of attention in children under 5 years of age are manifested in the fact that they cannot complete the work begun. After 4 years in 3-5 minutes, a healthy baby will have time to draw a little man or build a tower from cubes (if you exceed this time, he will quickly get tired).
A hyperactive child cannot cope with the mission: he will be constantly distracted.
The diagnosis of ADHD can be made either by a neurologist or a psychiatrist. If the doctor concludes “on the fly” on the basis of a 15-minute oral conversation, it is better to immediately go to another specialist.
Hyperactivity can be suspected only if the above symptoms appear no later than 7 years of age and at least in two situations: for example, at home and in kindergarten or at home and in a shopping center. But this evidence is still not enough. First, the doctor will ask the parents in detail and, if necessary, send them to collect information about the behavior of the baby in kindergarten.
Then he will talk to the child and give him some test tasks in order to assess the level of development of mental and motor functions. He will also need the results of an encephalogram and the conclusion of an oculist and otolaryngologist that everything is in order with the sight and hearing of the baby.
If necessary, the doctor may prescribe additional examinations, but without these four points, the diagnosis cannot be considered correct.
In most cases, ADHD is treatable. Mental functions (thinking, speech, memory) can be represented in the form of chains, which consist of several links. In cases of brain diseases, including those with hyperactivity, some of the links weaken, so some mental functions begin to work worse or turn off altogether.
However, no disaster occurs. Spare links help to fill in the blanks, which are not normally used. For example, deaf people can understand speech by reading lip phrases.
Similarly, in hyperactive children: the ability to self-control is not completely absent, but only partially. Yes, they cannot build complex behavioral programs, but they cope with tasks in the 1-2 link. Proceeding from this feature, neuropsychologists have developed special classes for such children, based on the principle of splitting complex tasks into a chain of simple actions with control questions in the middle.
The kid should perform these exercises under the guidance of a doctor and at home with his parents.
However, without medication, treatment, as a rule, is still not complete. Doctors usually prescribe B vitamins in high doses and nootropics.
The former contribute to the development of the brain, the latter improve the metabolism and strengthen the connections between neurons. In Russia, nootropics are prescribed for children from 5 to 7−8 years.
Other medications are used at an older age.
Only such an integrated approach gives the result. Neurons are cells that are activated in the process of thinking, therefore, along with medications, a child needs regular psychological stimulation. But if the alliance turned out, hyperactivity is amenable to correction in 3-5 months.
This does not mean that the child will fully recover, but such symptoms as impulsivity and excessive mobility will smooth out.
When the treatment ends, the child can be sent to a regular school. However, on the way of its development there will still be several critical points.
Difficulties will arise in preparing for school (with learning to read, write and count), enrollment, transition from primary to secondary school and in adolescence. During periods of “aggravation”, parents will need to return to the doctor again, resume classes, and possibly drink away a course of medications.
However, each time bursts of hyperactivity will subside: with age, the disease, as a rule, recedes. Without the intervention of doctors closer to adolescence, from 25 to 50% of hyperactive children “outgrow” this syndrome themselves.
But at the same time, improvements do not come before 12 years, and attention disorders remain for the rest of their lives.