Hyperactivity is the object of numerous controversies … Nevertheless, this behavioral problem really exists. A living hell for the child who suffers from it, the situation is also difficult for his entourage. Dr Frédéric Kochman, a child psychiatrist, has just issued a guide to help parents to better handle this situation.
Hyperactivity is a disorder more frequent than we think. Indeed, 3 to 5 % of the children would be concerned, that is 2 million in United States! But it is extremely difficult to manage for the parents, who often do not know anymore how to help the child to find his peace.
It is difficult to recognize a fidgety child from one who really suffers from hyperactivity. The diagnosis is based on precise criteria, relying at the same time on signs of inattention and problems of hyperactivity. For Dr Kochman, several situations have to bring parents to suspect this problem and to consult:
- The child cannot sit still, he is always fidgeting;
- He is always covered with scratches and bruises;
- As soon as you leave him unattended, he makes stupidities;
- He is intolerable in public;
- At school, he is very turbulent and suffers from problems of concentration;
- He seems unconscious of the danger and takes mindless risks;
- He cannot keep his attention focused on a precise task for more than a few minutes;
- He is overemotional;
Of course there are numerous other behaviors that can give you clues. But keep in mind that in every case they will be associated with common causes: the impossibility to be quiet and the impossibility to remain concentrated.
Three different types…
The exact naming of the hyperactivity is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For Dr Kochman, it is essential to determine an accurate diagnosis. Because there are not one but three kinds of this disorder, for which treatments will be different:
- The pseudo-hyperactivity of psycho-educational origin.
They are naturally fidgeted children, not because of a real disorder, but because of an unsuitable, sometimes, education. So, they did not learn to manage their feelings, they are easily frustrated, which notably entails problems of aggressiveness.
- The secondary pseudo-hyperactivity or reactional.
In that case, the behavioral problem is in fact a reaction led by a personal or family event: divorce, depression of one of the parents …
- The hyperactivity of organic origin.
This is the real ADHD in the strict sense of the word. Its origin falls under both genetic and emotional causes. The disorders are then all those which show an important hyperactivity associated with deficits of the attention. Neurological tests conducted by the doctor helps to confirm the diagnosis.
Medication… in drip feed!
The treatment of hyperactivity requires a long term care. Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of the treatment. It can be applied with several forms: psychoanalysis, family psychotherapy… according to the origin of the hyperactivity. So, for Dr Kochman, the cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy “proves to be the most effective in the treatment of the ADHD”. According to the disorders associated with the hyperactivity, additional care can be adapted: speech therapist’s sessions, psychomotrician sessions… And naturally, there are medicinal treatments, such as the famous Ritaline, where a lot of ink has been spilled over it.
Above all, these psycho-stimulants are only addressed to a small part of the hyperactive children, those who really suffer from ADHD of organic origin. And for this indication, they achieve real improvement. But to effectively treat this disorder, they must not be used solely but associated with psychotherapy.
Parents, become experts!
The role of the parents is essential. It is indispensable to adapt your educational habits to the situation of the child. For Dr Frédéric Kochman “parents have to become experts of the disease”. According to him the supervision of the child, on a daily basis, requires strong knowledge of the unfavorable environments and the concrete solutions allowing to react in case of a crisis. Without ignoring that they have to control the mode of action of medication. Only a precise knowledge of the effects of molecules allows the parent to effectively monitor the treatment. Finally for Dr Kochman, it is also possible to practice “home” psychotherapies to face the daily problems: relaxation for example, for the child and the parents!
Well treated and surrounded, hyperactive children can consequently have again a peaceful future …