Some very rowdy children suffer from hyperactivity. But beware of the hasty conclusions, because this psychiatric disorder concerns only 2 to 5% of them.
What is hyperactivity?
Nothing is more normal than running, jumping and screaming when you are a young child. It is the exaggeration of this behavior that is the problem. If from the age of 10 months he runs everywhere in the apartment, tries to go over the bars of his bed, climbs four to four the stairs, descends alone from his high chair without fear of danger, if is tireless and shows extraordinary physical capacities, he may be hyperactive. This disorder affects 2 to 5% of children and is detected in the first year of life. As he grows up, the child also shows an angry temper, difficulty concentrating, hence the scholarly name for this disorder, ADHD , Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder.
Is it neurological or psychological?
“All the data from neuroscience tend to prove that ADHD results from abnormalities, even discreet, in brain functioning. Screening is based on medical imaging, CT and especially MRI. But there is no denying the consequences of hyperactivity on psychic life. Poor self-esteem, lack of emotional gratification and academic recognition constantly punctuate the journey of children who suffer from this disorder “specifies Dr. Michel Lecendreux, psychiatrist at the Robert Debre Children’s Hospital in Paris, in a book he has just to devote to this topic. * It is also largely hereditary: in 20 to 30 cases, a hyperactive child has a first degree parent (parents, uncles and aunts) also affected. And boys are more exposed than girls.
Is it a quality?
To be hyperactive is to be endowed with an energy such that it makes you perform a number of tasks above the average. Uncomfortable at school, this characteristic can be an asset in professional circles where you have to know how to spend without counting and multiply the skills to climb to the top. Some people also use stimulants to achieve this level of requirement. In reality, hyperactivity is only a problem when it affects a person’s quality of life. Most often, in adulthood, this disorder leads to disadvantages, such as repeated forgetfulness, unnecessary travel, difficulties in meeting a schedule. Techniques such as cognitive therapy can then help.
Is this synonymous with school problems?
Alas yes, in half of the cases. These children more often than others have trouble learning to read, write, acquire spelling, mathematical concepts. More than other children, they have associated learning disabilities, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia. They often have difficulty memorizing in the medium or long term, express themselves in a less clear and structured way than their peers of the same age. Restless and having trouble concentrating, these children are also frowned upon by teachers! Most often, it is in kindergarten that they are spotted.
How can I help him at home?
A hyperactive child is very stressful for parents. So some people tend to reject it, sometimes criticize it violently. Serious error, because the attitude of those around them counts a lot in the evolution of the disorder, explains Dr. Lecendreux: “If the child feels left out, undervalued within his family, the symptoms can go by intensifying. If the child is understood and encouraged, development will be all the more favorable. “You should not hesitate to get help from competent professionals: hyperactivity improves all the better if you put the means to treat it.
How is it treated?
The doctor for hyperactivity is first of all the child psychiatrist. There are also certain specialized centers, which offer very in-depth assessments: they are most often located in hospitals. For now, the only drug currently used in hyperactivity is Ritalin. It is a stimulant, which paradoxically seems to calm toddlers. Several studies have proven the effectiveness of this product associated in particular with psychotherapy. But this drug has many side effects: insomnia, nervousness, loss of appetite … In France, 3,000 children are currently on Ritalin. Additional speech therapy support is essential to help the child improve his learning and language disorders. Finally, know that this disorder improves in adolescence in half of the cases.