The prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children has zoomed in the past few years, a study by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has found.
From 4% in 2005, the number of children - in the age group of 3 to 17 - having ADHD has gone up to 11% in 2011. Genetics, diet, social, physical and parental behaviour environment are the main reasons cited for the sharp rise in ADHD cases.
More boys are affected by ADHD than girls. The occurrence among boys increased from 6% to 11%, while among girls it rose from 2% to 5.5%, said the study titled 'Rising numbers of ADHD kids in metropolitan cities'.
Releasing the study, Assocham health council chairman, Dr BK Rao, said that ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder among children seen in the recent times. It makes it hard for kids to pay attention and control impulsive behaviour. It's often treated with drugs, behavioural therapy, or both.
The survey was conducted in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur and Lucknow. It covered around 1,000 school teachers, who said that they have 1-3 children who are diagnosed with ADHD in every single class.
The symptoms of ADHD include restless feeling, often fidgeting with hands or feet, running, climbing, or leaving a seat, when they are expected to sit quiet or remain silent, blurting out answers before hearing the whole question, and having difficulty waiting in line or for their turn.
Other symptoms of dysfunction include lack of foresight and poor hindsight, poor organisation, sense of time, lack of sense of self-awareness and reading of social clues. Such children get frequently angry; they lie, curse, steal, and blame others. However, these children are very high on energy and good at multi-tasking.
The study said that ADHD tends to improve with age but can cause significant interference in a child's academics and interpersonal relations in the initial years. The child has a tendency to lose belongings in school or make multiple careless mistakes.
Dr Rao further said that ADHD generally develops during early childhood and can continue up to adulthood if left untreated or unattended. There are, however, a number of factors that may contribute to ADHD including genetics, diet and social and physical environments.
The survey indicates that the disorder is highly heritable and that genetics are a factor in about 75% of ADHD cases. The environmental factors implicated include alcohol and tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy and environmental exposure to lead in early life. Complications during pregnancy and birth might also play a role.