In Russia, a whole generation of children suffering from hyperactivity syndrome is growing up. What of them grow up?
Modern parents are increasingly confronted with a problem: their child cannot sit still for a minute, listens half-heartedly, grabs five cases at the same time, and cannot concentrate. “Natural temperament”, – relatives are touched. And often are mistaken. Because it is a disease with the complex name “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD). And if 20 years ago this diagnosis was exotic, now it is put on with frightening regularity. “Over the past 10 years, there have been about twice as many of these patients among my patients,” complains the psychotherapist, coach of the Institute of Group and Family Psychology and Psychotherapy, Mark Sandomirsky. And this is a worldwide problem. A recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that attention deficit disorder is found in every tenth American child. Why is the generation of children born at the very beginning of the 21st century sharply different in temperament, not only from their parents, but even from their older brothers and sisters?
To date, there are probably three main hypotheses. According to the first – genetic – anomalies in the structure of the dopamine receptor and dopamine transporter genes are detected in children with ADHD. Dopamine is a hormone produced by the adrenal medulla and other tissues. Its excess or deficiency leads to changes in the human psyche. By the way, the most well-known pathologies associated with dopamine are schizophrenia and parkinsonism. Another theory is close to this theory – a neurochemical concept, which suggests that the syndrome causes a disturbance of the metabolism of the same dopamine and noradrenaline, which act as neurotransmitters of the central nervous system. Until now, it has been known that the level of norepinephrine in the blood rises during stressful conditions, shock, anxiety, fear, and nervous tension.
Supporters of another concept, neuropsychological, argue that deviations in the development of higher mental functions responsible for motor control, attention, and operational memory are to blame.
But no matter how many supporters of these theories, almost all of them believe that the root cause of hyperactivity is the so-called factor of civilization. Here you can include everything – from ecology to computers. “Research has been conducted, which, for example, showed that in ecologically unfavorable regions children with attention deficit disorder are born more,” said Tatiana Mukha, a neuropsychologist at the Center for Education in Development. According to Mark Sandomirsky, “most children with ADHD syndrome are registered in large cities. Perhaps this fact is explained by the fact that the fragile psyche adapts to the dynamic pace of life of the megalopolis. The information overload of the environment affects when literally from the cradle the baby exists under the influence of the TV and the computer. In kindergarten age, the guys are already talking on a cell phone. Such an abundance of information and glimpses of pictures before the eyes inevitably leads to nervous excitability. ” And nowhere not to get away from the fact that the kids who are able to click a mouse, lose the skill of writing – their fine motor skills, which, as it has long been proven, affects the maturation process of the brain, are not developed.
And still children are painfully experiencing the crisis of the traditional family. No matter how we justify the changes taking place in this institution (now, for example, an incomplete family or a change in the roles of father and mother is the norm), they are unnatural for a child. “Many children grow up in single-parent families, feeling unprotected,” states Sandomirsky. “But in the affluent, things are not so simple: more and more mothers today are suffering, for example, from postpartum depression. And they fail to establish emotional contact with the child, either in early childhood or later. ” Their role is played by physiological factors. “In recent years, women began to give birth later,” explains Tatiana Mucha. “Because of this, the risk of birth injuries increases, many children are born with a cesarean section, and this, too, cannot but affect the child’s nervous system.”
In fact, ADHD is a kind of response from nature to the challenges of the era: bad ecology, stress, plenty of negative information, family crisis, and so on. The faster, more clumsy and more technological life is, the more hyperactive children are born. Experts agree that in the future the number of such children will only grow. Do I need to take them as they are, or urgently to run to the doctor, so that before it is too late, he prescribes treatment?
Most parents suffer in conjectures: their child suffers from hyperactivity, or is he so mobile by nature. “If the parents see that the child is well assimilating the information, sleeps normally, but at the same time moves a lot during the day, then you should not sound the alarm,” Tatiana Mucha soothes. – This is a feature of physiology and temperament. The first sign of the development of hyperactivity – it interferes with the child himself, inhibits his development. If a child is unable to concentrate on one business, literally cannot sit still, does not sleep well and does not have a good memory, then these are obvious symptoms of the disease. ”
Usually the first warning signs appear at an early age. Kids with this syndrome often have an increased muscle tone, are too sensitive to the effects of the external environment – noise, light, cold, stuffiness. “Clearly, attention deficit begins to manifest itself in 3-4 years,” says children’s neurologist Natalya Volkova. – For example, a child cannot finish the game that takes his peers for hours. Or not able to listen to the end of the tale, calculated on his age. He knows the world superficially. If he asks a question to his parents, he is content with any answer, without being interested in details. Such a child constantly twirls something in his hands, pulls buttons, tears pieces of paper into small parts, bites his nails. ”
However, only a few moms-dads begin to sound the alarm about this in kindergarten: for the first time, they turn to specialists when the child is already starting to attend school. Just because it is there that it becomes clear: the child is constantly distracted in the classroom, he cannot master the necessary minimum of knowledge, he is carrying two from the school. “You need to pay attention to the child’s behavior a year or two before school,” Tatiana Mucha advises. – At this time there is still a chance to correct the situation. But our parents pay a lot of attention to the intellectual preparation of the child for school, often forgetting about the emotional. If you start treating the disease in advance, the child’s behavior can be corrected. ”
But how to treat? Most parents who bring their child too quickly to the doctor need to prescribe a medicine, preferably an instantaneous action, without thinking about the consequences. And in vain. Recently, the British Channel 4 cited the following data: over the past 10 years, the number of children who have been prescribed antipsychotics (neuroleptics) to treat ADHD syndrome has doubled in the UK. It turned out that children for years were under the influence of potent drugs without proper medical supervision. This is despite the large number of side effects, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders. And, for example, the use of drugs designed to fill the deficit of natural dopamine in the body, can cause overeating, hypersexuality, alcoholism and drug addiction. Given that the number of hyperactive children is growing, drug abuse can seriously undermine the health of the younger generation of the 2000s. And because experts today are increasingly in favor of psychological correction.
However, before you get scared, parents should talk with the kindergarten teachers, where the child goes, and with the parents of other kids. “It is possible that the child’s behavior seems hyperactive only to parents, and in fact meets the standards,” warns Mark Sandomirsky. – At each age, a child has his or her attention threshold. The younger the child, the less time he can concentrate on one lesson. ” The diagnosis of hyperactivity in Russia is not yet sufficiently developed, and if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, it is better to double-check with another doctor just in case.
Experts warn: you should not underestimate the attention deficit disorder, since the consequences may be the most unpredictable. When punishing a child for disobedience and twos, there is a great chance to provoke a response aggression in him. “The danger of hyperactivity lies precisely in the fact that the child does not control the situation and his emotions,” notes Tatiana Mucha. “It all turns against him.” Natalia Volkova suggests that the symptoms of ADHD can persist throughout a person’s life. It simply transforms over time. First, a person conflicts with classmates and parents, then with work colleagues, a wife (husband), and his own children. As a result, a family tyrant can grow out of a hyperactive child.
However, other experts believe that not only tyrants but also geniuses can grow out of hyperactive children. No wonder that these children are also called children with double exclusivity – in one person combines talent and hyperactivity. Such children can, for example, achieve outstanding success in music, mathematics or literature, but at the same time it is difficult to master the program in other subjects.
“When a son is very interesting, he buries himself in information like a mole,” Natalya R. tells about her child with a diagnosis of ADHD. “It’s very hard in life with him: impulsive, talkative, oppositional, conflicted, constantly arguing with adults. They like to say at school: he has problems because of giftedness, he needs another school. And in special schools the load is higher; only children with the first group of health can study there. And where should we go? ”
Neurologists believe that each such child needs an individual approach, which in modern society so far only has to dream. “You can correct the behavior of even the most difficult child, there are no hopeless situations,” says Natalya Volkova. – But parents themselves need to clearly understand what they expect from a child. If he has triples in all subjects except mathematics and physics, then maybe it is not worth sounding the alarm and trying to make him like everyone else. Remember how many famous people at school were studying for threes. “
And then, suddenly, for these children the future? Maybe we are lagging behind life, and it requires the emergence of just such – active, inquisitive, quick to make decisions, not distracted by trifles? After all, their illness is a product of progress for which we all struggle so hard.