How Attention Deficit Disorder Affects the Whole Family
Attention Deficit Disorder Can Have Affects on the Whole Family
Attention deficit disorder, ADD and ADHD, which also causes hyperactive disorder, may affect all aspects of an individual's life. It impacts not only the child, but also on the entire family, causing disturbances to family and marital functioning. The adverse effects of ADHD upon children and their families changes from the preschool years to primary school and teen years. Attention deficit disorder may persist into adulthood causing disruptions to both personal and professional life.
The Affects of Attention Defict Disorders
Attention deficit disorders, like ADD and ADHD are chronic, debilitating disorder which impact many aspects of a person's life, including academic difficulties, social skills issues, and strained relationships. It was previously thought that children eventually outgrow ADHD, recent studies suggest that 30–60% of affected individuals continue to show significant symptoms of the disorder into adulthood. Children with the disorder are at greater risk, such as lower educational and attaining employment. A vital consideration in the effective treatment of attention deficit disorder is how the disorder affects the daily lives of children, young people, and their families. It is not sufficient to merely consider ADHD symptoms during school or work hours—an examination of the disorder should take into account the well being of the whole family.
The Impact of ADHD on families
As children with ADHD get older, the way the disorder impacts their families changes. This varies with family and school resources, as well as with age, cognitive ability, and insight of the child or young person. The more sensitive we are to the needs of an individual with attention deficit disorder and aware of the implications of the disorder is vital. Medical and behavioral management is aimed at supporting the individual with attention deficit disorder and allowing them to achieve their full potential while minimizing adverse effects on themselves and society as a whole.
THE PRESCHOOL CHILD
High levels of activity, poor concentration, and impulsiveness are frequent characteristics of normal preschool children. Consequently, a high level of supervision is the norm. Even so, children with attention deficit disorder may still stand out. Associated difficulties, such as delayed development, oppositional behavior, and poor social skills, could be present. If ADHD is a possibility, it is vital to offer targeted parenting advice and support. Even at this early stage parental stress may be huge when a child does not respond to ordinary parental requests and behavioral advice.
PRIMARY SCHOOL YEARS
The primary school child with attention deficit disorder frequently begins to be seen as being different. More frequently the child experiences academic failure, rejection by peers, and low self esteem. Comorbid problems, such as specific learning difficulties, may also start to impact on the child, further complicating diagnosis and management.
Further into life with Attention Deficit Disorder During School Years
Parents may find that family members refuse to care for the child, and that other children do not invite them to parties or out to play. Many children with ADHD have very poor sleep patterns, and although they appear not to need much sleep, daytime behavior is often worse when sleep is neglected. As a result, parents have little time to themselves. Not surprisingly, family relationships may be severely strained, and in some cases break down, bringing additional social and financial difficulties. This may cause children to feel sad or even show oppositional or aggressive behavior.
Assessing the quality of life of the child suffering from ADHD is difficult. Behavioral assessments are usually carried out by parents, teachers, or healthcare professionals, and it can usually only be inferred how the child must feel.
Johnston and Mash reviewed the evidence of the effect of having a child with ADHD on family functioning. They concluded that the presence of a child with ADHD results in increased likelihood of disturbances to family and marital functioning, disrupted parent-child relationships, reduced parenting efficacy, and increased levels of parent stress, particularly when ADHD is combined with conduct problems.
ADHD IN YOUNG PEOPLE
Adolescence may bring about a reduction in the over-activity that is often so striking in younger children, but inattention, impulsiveness, and inner restlessness remain major difficulties. A distorted sense of self and a disruption of the normal development of self has been reported by adolescents with attention deficit disorder. Furthermore, excessively aggressive and antisocial behavior may develop, adding further problems. A study examined teenagers with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), which is defined by the presence of markedly defiant, disobedient, provocative behavior and by the absence of more severe dis-social or aggressive acts that violate the law or the rights of others. These teenagers rated themselves as having more parent-teen conflict. Increased parent-teen conflict was also reported when parents of teenagers with ADHD carried out the rating exercise. In addition, a survey of 11–15 year old children showed that those with hyperkinesis were twice as likely as the overall population to have “a severe lack of friendship”.
More on young people with attention deficit disorder
Young people with ADHD are at increased risk of academic failure, dropping out of school or college, teenage pregnancy, and criminal behavior. Driving poses an additional risk. Individuals with ADHD are easily distracted from concentrating on driving when going slowly. It has been shown that, compared with age matched controls, drivers with attention deficit disorder are at increased risk of traffic violations, especially speeding, and are considered to be at fault in more traffic accidents, including fatal ones. However, it has been suggested that treatment may have a positive effect on driving skills.
As many as 60% of individuals with ADHD symptoms in childhood continue to have difficulties in adult life. Adults with attention deficit disorder are more likely to be dismissed from employment and have often tried a number of jobs before being able to find one at which they can succeed. They may need
to choose specific types of work and are frequently self employed. In the workplace, adults with ADHD experience more interpersonal difficulties with employers and colleagues. Further problems are caused by lateness, absenteeism, excessive errors, and an inability to accomplish expected workloads. However, there are also some great jobs for ADHD and this article brings up some good points about ADHD and self employment. At home, relationship difficulties and break-ups are more common. The risk of drug and substance abuse is significantly increased in adults with persisting ADHD symptoms who have not been receiving any treatment. The genetic aspects of attention deficit disorder mean that adults with ADHD are more likely to have children with ADHD. Attention deficit disorders in both parents and children can lead to a cycle of difficulties.
The Good News About ADHD
I am not trying to suggest there is no help for an individual or family of an individual who has attention deficit disorder or ADHD. There are more and more treatment options available these days. Plus, people with ADHD can do some pretty remarkable things and think in certain ways the “normal” brain is unable to function. Please share your comments below. I'd love to hear from you!
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I look forward to reading your comments and always feel free to reach out and contact me personally as well. All the best!