These three words describe a mental health condition; Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. But even with this description, it remains highly undiagnosed.
Consultant psychiatrist Prof Lukoye Atwoli notes that ADHD affects personal, interpersonal and social interactions, and negatively impacts the quality of life of affected individuals and their families.
“As a result, persons with this condition may present with the following effects either at school, work or within the social circles. These include poor productivity, substance and drug abuse, employment difficulties and failure to sustain relationships for long,” said Prof Atwoli who is also the Dean of Medical College, East Africa, at the Aga Khan University.
In children, ADHD presents in the following ways
- Academic under-achievement,
- Problems with interpersonal relationships with family members and peers.
- Low self-esteem
Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children has been studied over the years but only has the same mental health condition in adults been researched more intensively in the last couple of years.
Prof Lukoye Atwoli, Consultant psychiatrist and Dean of Medical College, East Africa at Aga Khan University.
According to a 2010 research study by Prof Atwoli and colleagues to determine the prevalence of self-reported ADHD symptoms among university students in Eldoret, the prevalence was reported at 21.8%.
“A diagnosis of this condition is given when at at least six out of eighteen possible symptoms are reported over a considerable period of time like at least six months,” said Prof Atwoli.
The study led by Prof Atwoli gave a self-administered questionnaire developed by the World Health Organisation to students in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Public Health at the Moi University.
It is interesting to note that the ADHD symptoms were higher among participants aged 17-20 years compared with older participants and a lack of signiﬁcant difference between the genders was also noted.
“The high rates of self-reported ADHD symptoms in this study demonstrate the need for clinicians to have a high index of suspicion especially when confronted with students having academic and interpersonal difficulties,” read excerpts of the study.
What are some of the symptoms that a mental health specialist looks for to arrive at a ADHD diagnosis?
- Lacks attention to detail
- Makes careless mistakes
- Has difficulty sustaining attention
- Doesn’t seem to listen.
- Fails to follow through/fails to finish instructions or schoolwork.
- Has difficulty organising tasks.
- Avoids tasks requiring mental effort.
- Often loses items necessary for completing a task.
- Easily distracted.
- Is forgetful in daily activities.
Part 2 on ADHD coming up next week