Decoding ADHD: What it is, how to find it & how to treat it

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder that is still not completely understood. Part of the reason why this disorder is so complex is that many of the symptoms can easily be overlooked as ‘situation specific’.

It is easy for anyone to become distracted, fidgety or unorganised, but when these behaviours start affecting everyday life, there may be a greater and more serious reason. People affected by ADHD can develop emotional, social, occupational and academic problems and should be given the opportunity to understand how to best treat their condition.

In late 2010 The Lancet published a report showcasing research supporting DNA testing in disorders such as ADHD. Dr Danny Meyersfeld, CEO of DNAlysis Biotechnology says, “The stigma that ADHD is due to ‘bad parenting’ is in the process of being lifted, with new research supporting the link between ADHD and an individual’s DNA.” Further research shows that there is a link between these DNA differences and other disorders such as autism and schizophrenia. The good news is that ADHD can be treated effectively and DNA testing can help to understand how to best treat the disorder.

However, in order to treat it, ADHD first has to be recognised and diagnosed, a feat within itself.

“DNA testing cannot diagnose an ADHD disorder; however, the test can help your doctor prescribe medication that is best suited to your specific genes.”

ADHD is most commonly associated with concentration issues. However, symptoms differ according to age and stage and present differently in children and adults. ADHD in children may be more visible during school hours, when teachers notice that the child finds it difficult to focus and gets distracted easily. This can progress to the child not being able to finish their task completely before moving onto the next one. Since ADHD symptoms can be so common in children, teachers may often mistake general focus issues for ADHD. In cases like these, it is important to seek medical counsel so that the child can be correctly diagnosed and treated.

In adults, these traits can extend to the inability to be on time, poor organisational skills and difficulty controlling their behaviour. Often a parent may recognise their own ADHD through watching their child; even adults should seek medical advice in order to further understand the disorder and how to treat correctly.

“DNA testing cannot diagnose an ADHD disorder; however, the test can help your doctor prescribe medication that is best suited to your specific genes,” says Meyersfeld.  “Our technology allows you to further understand your genes and how your body is going to metabolise certain medications.” Treating mental disorders can often become an expensive trial and error exercise, but DNA testing takes the mystery out of the process and leaves you and your doctor with concrete information that is only relevant to you. This allows you to find a treatment plan that is effective for both your child’s wellbeing and your pocket.

To begin your journey to personalised medication, visit www.mygenerx.co.za and order your test today.