The grown-ups and the restless

One of the hand-over of modern times is the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a common reason for children’s impaired functioning at home, school or social situation. This is the most commonly diagnosed behavioural disorder of childhood, affecting an estimated 3 – 5% of school aged children. This disorder is distinguished by inattention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and behavioural instability of the affected child. Such children not only have learning disabilities during their formative years. Recent research has suggested that many of these children grow up as emotionally unstable, disorganized and careless adults. They have compatibility problems with their colleagues as well spouses and are twice as likely to be divorced.

Vulnerable people

Attention deficit syndrome is a fall-out of our changing lifestyle. Apart from the heredity factors, spending excess of time in front of television, playing video games too often, lack of active sports and deficient supervision from parents are the common reasons for this disorder. Children of both working parents and those who spend more than 2 hours in front of screen are more predisposed to this disorder. Such children have poor attention span, have learning difficulties, are hyperactive and have troubled interpersonal relationships. It is believed that a good 50 percent of children never out grow of their disease as they become adults. Adults with this disorder are confused, messy, are easily distracted and are absentminded. It can make one spouse as the actual effective single parent as the other half fails to take up family responsibilities. They are often perceived as inconsiderate and inattentive by the aggrieved spouse. Such patients are also prone to substance abuse and may find familiar solace in some computer game or television. The disorder is fast becoming a notable reason for failed relationships in the western countries. It is estimated that as many 50 percent of such marriages terminate in divorce.

Identification and management

Adults suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may have an extended psychological history of low self-esteem, failure, frequent job changes and relationship problems. Their healthy spouses might have significant relationship grudges due to forgotten commitments, impulsive decisions and emotional outbursts. For effective management of these patients, it is important to take careful past history. In many of these adults diagnosis of disorder was missed during the growing years. The goal of the therapy is to make patients understand their disease and make them active and responsible family adults. At the same time the physician should be careful not to provide them an excuse for being irresponsible.

Marital and individual counselling and self-help groups are often valuable tools for emotional and psychological support. Self understanding and realizations of a rational and logical reason for their abnormal behaviors may help these patients to develop compensatory strategies to tackle the same. There are certain drugs that help such patients, but should only be taken after evaluation by a qualified physician. Timely performed behavioral therapy and coping strategies done by experts may at times save a doomed relationship.

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