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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Brain Injury News and Research - ADHD

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Possible Link Between Brain Injury and ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition in which children or adults have symptoms including inability to pay attention, impulsive actions and hyperactivity. Symptoms of the condition begin in childhood although some people may not be diagnosed until they reach adulthood. Research has found that there could be a link between brain injuries in children and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Recent research supports the theory that people who sustained brain injuries could be more likely to develop ADHD than others. However, the connection between the two still requires quite a bit more study.

Elk & Elk

A study done in Canada surveyed adults and found those with a history of brain injuries were more than two times as likely to suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than those who didn’t have injuries. This data suggests that there could be a connection between brain injuries and ADHD. This finding could very well apply to children who suffered birth injuries as well as others who had trauma later in their childhoods. The study indicates that there could be a need to perform ADHD screening on all individuals who previously had head trauma.

Understanding ADHD

While there remains much to be learned about ADHD parents should have a basic understanding of symptoms and treatment. The condition causes restlessness and a distinct inability to focus or concentrate. Approximately 5% of children in the U.S. have ADHD according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). There are three types of ADHD including:

  • Inattentive - A person has trouble with organizing and completing tasks and with attention to detail and instructions.
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive - The person is continually moving and finds it difficult to stay still. They may have problems waiting their turn to speak and are impulsive and impatient.
  • Combination - It is possible to have equal symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive.

It is important to note that many children exhibit some inattentiveness and restless behaviors from time to time. Only those who display symptoms that are excessive are likely to have the condition. Parents who suspect that their child is suffering from ADHD should discuss it with the child’s doctor.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To make a diagnosis the child’s doctor performs an examination and assessment of his behavior. A child must exhibit symptoms on a regular basis for a period of more than 6 months. The doctor may speak with parents, teachers and care providers to gather comprehensive behavioral information. A brain scan is also part of the diagnosis.

A treatment plan may consist of stimulant or non-stimulant medications. An adjustment of medication will likely need to be done to find the medication and dosage that works best for an individual child. Children may also need some behavioral or social skills training and support. Parents might seek support to learn how best to handle specific types of situations.

ADHD is most likely caused by some type of imbalance in the brain. A child who has had an injury could have damage to an area of the brain that makes the condition more possible. Parents of kids with birth injuries should keep a watchful eye out for any of the potential symptoms of the condition so that it can be diagnosed and treated.