Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a cognitive disorder that afflicts approximately 2-7% of children globally. It is a disorder that can affect a person’s everyday functioning even until adulthood, unlike the common misconception that it naturally goes away after childhood. As such, children suffering from ADHD India stand the risk of long-term negative outcomes such as lower educational and employment attainment.

In terms of social impact, a child with ADHD can cause a lot of anxiety to the people around him, putting strains in parent/sibling-child relationships.

As children with ADHD become adults, they could manifest imbalances in emotion (trouble controlling anger, depression and mood swings, relationship and problems at work) and behavior (getting into addictions and substance abuse, experiencing chronic boredom). 

ADHD India

In Indian, a study conducted in Coimbatore found ADHD prevalence in children to be higher than global estimate, at 11.32%[1]. The highest prevalence is found in ages 9 (at 26.4%) and 10 (at 25%).

Further, the study showed that more males (66.7%) were found to have ADHD. Children who have ADHD were also observed to not only have poor academic performance and behavioural difficulty, but also had problems with reading and writing.

adhd india

Other ADHD studies in conducted in different parts of India also suggested prevalence between 2% to as high as 17%[2]. In numbers, it is estimated that 10 million Indian children are diagnosed with ADHD annually[3].

ADHD India: What is ADHD?

In the early days, ADHD was also referred to as ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’(ADD).  ADD is a milder representation of the symptoms of ADHD – that is without the hyperactivity – and is more often seen in girls. Currently, ADD is no longer considered a medical diagnosis and doctors have been using the term ADHD to describe both the hyperactive and inattentive types.

There are 3 types of ADHD.

  1. Primarily Inattentive
  2. Primarily hyperactive-impulsive
  3. Combined

Difference between ADD and ADHD in a child:

Symptoms
ADD
ADHD

Inattention

  • Easily distracted and cannot focus on a task anywhere
  • Does not listen even when spoken to directly
  • Overlooks details
  • Forgetful, loses things often
  • Disorganised
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Disorganised
  • Fickle cannot focus on a task, frequent daydreaming
  • Does not listen even when spoken to directly

Impulsivity

 

  • Interrupts others without hesitation
  • Thoughtless actions without fear of consequence.
  • Trouble waiting his turn

Hyperactivity

 

  • Fidgeting,
  • Squirming
  • Constant movement
  • Talking where it’s inappropriate

Coping with ADHD

While there is presently no cure to ADHD, its symptoms can be managed therapeutically. Thus, it is important for parents to work with their healthcare providers (paediatrician, therapists, etc) and even with schools and teachers to help their child.

Often, ADHD India treatment involves medication and non-pharmacological interventions.

Medications | ADHD India

Medicines used to manage ADHD symptoms help to balance and enhance neurotransmitters thereby improving symptoms. Stimulant medicines work for about 70-80% of people. They can be used to treat both moderate and severe symptoms of ADHD.

Some stimulants are approved for children over age of 3 and children over the age of 6, respectively. These medicines help children, teens, adults who have a hard time at work, home or school.

Types of medications available for ADHD are:

  1. Stimulants: This medication helps to improves focus and ignore distractions. Some examples of stimulants are: Amphetamine or Adderall, Amphetamine or Adzenys, Dextroamphetamine or Dexedrine.
  1. Non-stimulants: When the side effects from the stimulants are high, this medicine can help to stem down the side effects. Some examples of non-stimulants are:
    • Atomoxetine or Bupropion – This is the first non-stimulant approved by FDA and can be prescribed for children, adolescents and adults suffering from ADHD.
    • Clonidine hydrochloride (Kapvay) – This medicine also has been approved. It can be prescribed for use alone or in combination with a stimulant.
    • Guanfacine (Intuniv) – This medicine is approved for children and teens aged between 6 and 17 years.

There are other medicines as well. The alternative medicines include Amitriptyline, Bupropion, Escitalopram, Venlafaxine. Doctors may prescribe these for the following reasons:

  1. If stimulants and non-stimulants don’t work
  2. If they cause side effects that you can’t live without
  3. If you have other medical conditions

ADHD Pharmacophobia in Some Indian Communities

While ADHD prevalence is quite high in India, parents remain hesitant to subject their child to ADHD drugs[4]. In fact, of those prescribed with ADHD medications, 83.3% discontinue taking their medicines within the first month. Reasons cited by parents for stopping the medication are: side-effects, lack of effectiveness, problems at the hospital, and fear that the child is becoming addicted, among others.

Parents, though, especially in the lower income classes, have shown willingness to tap non-pharmacological methods[5].

Non-pharmacological interventions | ADHD India

In India, there are 4 types of alternative interventions being advocated[6]:

  1. Psychosocial interventions – which involves behavioral intervention, parent training, peer and social skills training, and school/classroom‑based intervention/training.
  2. Body focused – body‑oriented activities such as yoga‑based, physical exercises, sleep and mindfulness‑based interventions such as using breathing exercises with music therapy or attention training such as that offered by iBrainpowers[7].
  3. Cognitive-behavioral training (such as play therapy).
  4. Neuro cognitive training – computer-based attention and EEG biofeedback intervention like the CogoLand game launched[8] by Singapore-based Neeuro Pte Ltd alongside researchers from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), the medical school Duke-NUS, and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) for a pilot home-based trial.

A decade’s worth of work by the researchers suggested that EEG-based brain training is a promising intervention for ADHD[9]. In fact, brain scans done on the children with ADHD in their latest clinical trial, exhibited reorganized brain network activity, meaning having less inattentive symptoms. 

“At Neeuro, our aim is to utilise technology to enable positive change in the neurological agility and fitness of our users. We are privileged to be working with institutions such as IMH, Duke-NUS and A*STAR, in conjunction with our hardware partner Samsung, to explore the use of cutting-edge technology in order to achieve this aim. It is our hope that this (pilot home-based) trial paves the way to enable the progressive development of new complementary options that will bring about positive outcomes for the millions of children afflicted with ADHD globally, especially those in Singapore.”

Neeuro’s CEO, Dr. Alvin Chan, explains how CogoLand works in his interview with Channel News Asia.[10]

adhd india
adhd india
ADHD India Guest Writer: Dr. Sujata Singhi

The achievements by Dr. Sujata Singhi has made her to conduct diverse training programs/sessions on Sound Therapy and wellness of Individuals, Corporates, Educational Institutions, Medical Associations, etc. She is the Chief Facilitator for National and International Retreats where people from far and wide come for their wellbeing and spiritual evolution. Because of her profound knowledge and versatile experience, Dr. Sujata Singhi has trained and transformed countless people from across the globe in last fifteen years, which includes top notch companies, renowned educational institutions, hospitals, banks, IRS, IAS (Bureaucrats), Chartered Accountants Associations, International Toastmaster Singapore to name a few. Dr. Singhi has worked with sound and frequencies on ADHD and LD research contributor for children in India.

Having been trained in over 15 healing modalities and channeled for the 108 meditations for wealth and wellness, she curates her sessions and consultancies using the various methodologies with sound therapy to help the clients attain the best outcome. To connect to Dr. Sujata Singhi, visit www.sujatasinghi.com.

Appendix

[1] Jyothsna Akam Venkata and Anuja S. Panicker. Prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in primary school children (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890923/)

[2] Prosenjit Ghosh, Hasina Anjuman Choudhury, Robin Victor. Prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder among primary school children in Cachar, Assam, North-East India. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326474503_Prevalence_of_attention_deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_among_primary_school_children_in_Cachar_Assam_North-East_India

[3] https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/indian-herb-saffron-can-replace-stimulant-medicine-for-treating-adhd-in-children-1463600-2019-02-24

[4] Sitholey P, Agarwal V, Chamoli S. A preliminary study of factors affecting adherence to medication in clinic children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21431007

[5] https://academic.oup.com/shm/article/30/4/767/2919405

[6] Sujata Satapathy, Vandana Choudhary, Renu Sharma, Rajesh Sagar. Nonpharmacological Interventions for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in India: A Comprehensive and Comparative Research Update https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308748554_Nonpharmacological_Interventions_for_Children_with_Attention_Deficit_Hyperactivity_Disorder_in_India_A_Comprehensive_and_Comparative_Research_Update

[7] https://ibrainpowers.com/

[8] https://www.sgpc.gov.sg/media_releases/astar/press_release/P-20191106-4 

[9] http://bit.ly/CogoLand-Whitepaper

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMlb9PqkTXA


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