Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder in Australia. According to recent data, one in 20 kids has this condition. Fortunately, there are some drugs and strategies to effectively treat the disorder. Read this guide to know more about managing ADHD in Australia, as well as medical centers & other organizations aimed at supporting people with the condition. It also covers the main info on the disorder including when you should see a doctor to be diagnosed and get treatment.
What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (shortened as ADHD & occasionally referred to as ADD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that begins in early childhood. It can have lifelong impacts on individuals, their families, & society, although early diagnosis & quality therapy can improve the results considerably. However, caring for ADHD individuals can take time, energy, & additional resources.
The condition can have negative effects on every aspect of daily life, including emotional, social, academic, & work functioning. It is continuous throughout the lifespan, although some patterns may change. It is characterized by ongoing patterns of impulsive, inattentive, & occasionally hyperactive behavior, and it is oftentimes accompanied by emotional regulation challenges.
How Many People in Australia Have ADHD?
It is thought that 1 in 20 Australians is diagnosed with the disorder, which is over one million individuals, but it is oftentimes misunderstood & underdiagnosed . The condition affects more than 281,200 children & adolescents (aged 0–19) and 533,300 adults in Australia . Three in 4 children diagnosed with ADHD continue experiencing the signs into adulthood. Furthermore, the disorder has a very powerful genetic basis. When a child is diagnosed with it, it’s likely that one of their parents also has the condition. Nonetheless, it’s essential to get a proper health assessment & correct therapy to best aid a child or adult in managing symptoms.
Symptoms and Causes of ADHD
According to Healthdirect Australia, a national health advice service, there are 2 groups of symptoms of ADHD :
- inattentive symptoms: not paying attention to details, making reckless mistakes in schoolwork; having trouble staying focused in class, dialogues, or during reading; avoiding tasks that take ongoing mental effort; not complying with instructions, a tendency to begin but not complete tasks; having trouble organizing tasks, belongings, activities, or time; being effortlessly distracted or even daydreaming; losing things; not listening when spoken to; being forgetful when it comes to performing daily tasks;
- hyperactive-impulsive symptoms: fidgeting & squirming; climbing or running in situations in which it’s inappropriate; talking too much; interrupting conversations, games, actions, or using an individual’s things without permission; blurting out an answer before a question has been completed; having trouble playing quietly; having trouble waiting their turn; being continuously in motion.
The exact reasons for the condition are unknown, and there is no single cause. It’s thought that symptoms of the disorder are linked with the biology of the brain. Notably, it can be caused by several things:
- neurophysiology: Patients suffering from ADHD usually have different brain anatomy, metabolism, & also electrical activity;
- genetics, but it’s unclear which genes are involved;
- cocaine, smoking, & alcohol use during pregnancy ;
- lead: Pre-schoolers exposed to lead have a higher risk of acquiring ADHD;
- brain injury: Some children with brain injury show behavior that corresponds to the mental disorder. Nonetheless, most kids with the condition have no known history of brain injury;
- lack of early attachment: If a child didn’t bond with a parent or caregiver as a baby, they can ultimately develop hyperactivity & inattention;
- trauma in early childhood: Kids who has traumatic events in early childhood are more likely to experience ADHD symptoms. However, most children with the disorder haven’t experienced any trauma.
A poor night’s sleep can induce difficulty concentrating the following day. In most cases, individuals with the condition might have sleep apnea, but it’s unclear whether the sleep disorder is a cause of ADHD. If a child often snores, this might be a sign of sleep apnea, and this may intensify the problem.
Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD
To get diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood, you need to confirm that the signs began in childhood. A specialist should observe strict criteria to make a diagnosis. These include that the disorder’s signs:
- commenced before the age of 7 & have persisted for 6+ months;
- are existing in more than one setting (for instance, both in school & at home);
- have induced considerable impairment at home, school, or socially;
- are atypical for the child’s age & developmental level;
- aren’t better explained by another physical or mental condition, family circumstances, or stress.
There are several different treatment options for the disorder, depending on the specific needs of each child & family. Therapy may involve various health specialists, including a psychiatrist, pediatrician, doctor, psychologist, or even a family therapist. Parents, as well as school teachers, should be heavily involved in the therapy plan.
First and foremost, positive parenting strategies should be used. This can aid in sticking to a routine, help the kid build social skills & talk to the school to prepare an environment in which they are capable of learning. However, if the condition is still having a big influence on the child’s life, it’s time to consider medication. In this case, stimulant meds can lessen hyperactivity & impulsivity and help a child focus & learn.
Besides potent stimulant drugs, there is a eugeroic with milder stimulant-like effects — modafinil. It has been comprehensively researched for many years and is considered safe & effective in enhancing impulse control, concentration, & hyperactivity in adults and kids with ADHD. It’s a prescription drug, but it’s easy to buy modafinil in Australia without a prescription. Remarkably, the med isn’t addictive & doesn’t induce withdrawal signs.
Furthermore, psychological therapies, such as behavioral treatment, may aid a child in developing strategies + skills for learning & controlling their behavior. Also, lots of physical activity, nutritious food, & adequate sleep are essential; they can aid in keeping disorder’s signs from getting worse.
When Should I See My Doctor?
It’s typical for kids to become restless & distracted from time to time and to have lots of energy. However, if a kid has ADHD, the difficulties with attention & hyperactivity will be severe enough to hinder learning & social relationships. If you are concerned that your kid may have the disorder, especially if it’s expressed by the aforementioned symptoms, the first step is to see a physician. They can make a diagnosis after a detailed analysis of the kid’s behavior, including interviews with parents or carers + school teachers. Further, they can decide which treatment option is suitable to help manage symptoms.
Medical Centers, Foundations, and Charity Organisations
There are several foundations & resources in Australia that can aid in better understanding & navigating ADHD. Most of them have a helpline you can turn to. Here is a list of organizations that support and help individuals with the disorder & educate others about the condition:
- the ADHD Foundation, which is a national not-for-profit organization representing over 1.5 million Australians living with the disorder;
- ADHD Coaches Australia: This is a website that provides a list of certified ADHD coaches;
- ADHD support groups: Such include Adult ADHD Melbourne, Macquarie ADHD Parent Support Group, ADHD Illawarra Support Group, ADHD WA, ADHD United, Parents for ADHD Advocacy Australia, etc. Most of these groups provide free info, support, & self-help resources to patients & their families;
- ADHD Support Australia: The online resource prides itself on bringing the most experienced professionals for the patient to learn from. From psychological & behavioral therapies to practical strategies and holistic modalities, it has got every individual covered. It makes it easy to find ADHD professionals, services & resources;
- ADHD Australia: This non-profit organization works closely with a good deal of ADHD parent & carer support groups around Australia. It aims to enable the patient to connect with a support group within the state or local area.
- ADDults with ADHD: This is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization created to address the needs of ADHD adults and their families. With care & practical understanding of the daily impacts of the condition, it provides authoritative info & services via its website, events, & posts on its Facebook page.
AADPA is another independent, not-for-profit organization committed to working towards enhanced lifetime outcomes for individuals with the disorder and their families through education & training. It optimizes outcomes for individuals living with the condition across their lifespan by heightening research & enabling the uptake of best-practice & evidence-based clinical care.
This guide has covered in detail all the aspects of the disorder, including diagnosis and treatment options. If you have the condition, don’t worry. Seek medical help from your physician since the condition is treatable. Nowadays, there are numerous resources & organizations in Australia that can help the patient get support. Further, some ADHD foundations and support groups are indeed helpful since they provide effective solutions.
- What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Retrieved: January 6, 2023. Adhdaustralia.org.au.
- The Social and Economic Costs of ADHD in Australia. Published: July 2019. Aadpa.com.au.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Retrieved: January 6, 2023. Healthdirect.gov.au.
- Individual and Combined Association Between Prenatal Polysubstance Exposure and Childhood Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. By Henri M. Garrison-Desany, Xiumei Hong, Brion S. Maher, et al. Published: March 11, 2022. Jamanetwork.com.