Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD or Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is indicated by hyperactive behavior and difficulty in concentration. While some kids display only signs of inattention, others are hyperactive and inattentive. ADHD kids are always fidgety and restless and cannot sit still for long. They interrupt others and are always restless and running about.
The actual cause for ADHD is not known though one of the theories is that some people do not have enough neurotransmitters that can control behavior. Often ADHD is genetic. Boys are three times more likely than girls to have ADHD.
Diagnosing attention deficit disorder is essential to help understand the problem. The diagnosis of ADHD is a collaborative effort between teachers, parents and physicians. It could include medical evaluation along with assessment of cognitive ability and IQ and review of school performance.
Speech and language evaluation is also conducted. ADHD is often accompanied by some other behavioral or emotional problem. Children with ADHD tend to experience adverse effects in academic and social and emotional development. The ADHD child may squirm, fidget, and climb or run when it is not appropriate. The levels of inattention and hyperactivity compromise the child's daily functioning.
This includes problem solving, open and effective communication skills, anger management or conflict resolution. The child needs to be taught social skills and behaviors. Medication for ADHD is restricted to amphetamine-like stimulants such as Ritalin and Dexedrine.
They reduce hyperactivity among children and help them focus their attention. Behavioral improvements such as lesser aggression and forgetfulness are also noticed. But the side effects of this Class A drug are insomnia, loss of appetite and weight loss. The child may experience sadness, depression and sleepiness.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
The exact cause of obsessive compulsive behavior is yet to be established. On the basis of some studies and research carried so far, possible causes include any one or a combination of two.
Genetics (family history): Multiple genes passed on through generations are likely to affect the sufferer whose close relative is diagnosed with OCD as well. The genetic connection proves to be higher if the onset of OCD is before age 14. Identical twins have a 70% chance of sharing the disorder.
Illness: If the person is suffering from other anxiety disorder like depression, , substance abuse disorder, a personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, he or she is most likely to experience a high level of anxiety. Certain auto immune diseases such as Sydenham's chorea, rheumatic fever, pediatric streptococcal infection may also cause obsessive compulsive disorder.
Serotonin Hypothesis: People diagnosed with OCD are believed to have abnormally low levels of brain chemical, the serotonin which helps carry messages from one nerve cell to another. This imbalance may interfere with the normal biological processes including mood, sleep, appetite, impulse control, aggression and pain.
Structural brain differences: Abnormalities in several parts of the brains including the thalamus, caudate nucleus, orbital cortex and cingulated gyrus may also be a cause for OCD.
The disorder is clearly visible right from early childhood. Check for one or more of the following traits which are generally associated with time, dirt, relationship and money. Unless and until the individual has trouble leading a normal life due to any or all of these traits, it is not diagnosed as a disorder.
If left unattended, OCD can have devastating effects both in personal life and at the workplace. Normal life can be completely marred. Most importantly, individuals with OCD are close to acknowledging the need for help as compared to those affected with OCPD who do not conceive it as a problem, hence do not seek help until or unless someone forces the issue.
Antidepressant medications and behavior therapy are effectively used in treating OCD. Medication other than certain antidepressants is rarely prescribed. Instead individual psychotherapy or counseling helps treat OCPD. With family support and an empathetic attitude by those in contact, improvement is evident within few weeks of professional assistance.
An unusually cheerful demeanor and ease with strangers and charming facial appearance along with a low nasal bridge are characteristics of Williams Syndrome or Williams-Beuren syndrome. On the other hand, developmental delay, language deficiency, visual and spatial impairments, cardiovascular problems and high blood calcium are also features of Williams Syndrome in the very same person.
To put it in other words, this is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body, characterized by mild to moderate intellectual disability, some exceptional personality features such as distinctive facial features, heart and blood vessel problems. Identified by JCP Williams, a New Zealander in 1961, this syndrome is named after him. Williams Syndrome has many names such as Beuren syndrome, Elfin Facies Syndrome with Hypercalcemia, Supravalvar Aortic Stenosis Syndrome and Williams Beuren syndrome. It is usually diagnosed before age 4.
Williams Syndrome is caused when about 26 genes from the chromosome 7 are spontaneously micro-deleted. Occurrence of this disease is 1: 7500 to 1: 20000 births. As several genes are lost in this deletion, researchers opine that the loss can contribute to the characteristic features of this disorder. Some of the genes typically deleted in this syndrome are CLIP2, ELN, GTF2I, GTF2IRD1, and LIMK1.
Most do not inherit this syndrome. The deletions of chromosomes are only due to random events that occur in eggs or sperm from their parents. Loss of ELN gene which codes for protein elastin can cause full cheeks, coarse voice, hernias and bladder diverticulitis. Deletion of other genes causes characteristics such as visual-spatial deficiency. Deficiency of other genes such as CLIP2, can contribute to learning disabilities and other cognitive difficulties associated with this syndrome.
Perhaps the most common symptom of this syndrome is heart defects followed by unusual facial features. These include Elfin-like facial features, including upturned nose and prominent lips, an abnormally small head, vertical skin folds that cover the inner corners of the eyes and sunken chest.
Trouble to gain weight as a baby, low muscle tone and a height lower than expected, are other signs. Those with this syndrome tend to have gaps in teeth, a flattened nasal bridge and an unusually longer philtrum (the vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip). Those affected have teeth that are small, crooked or missing.
These are 'cocktail party' type personalities, highly talkative and overly sociable. They develop hyper focus that is deep and intense concentration of the eyes while socially engaged, which could be very embarrassing.
Attention deficit disorder, developmental delays and far sightedness are characteristic of these syndrome personalities. While those with Williams syndrome tend to be more sociable than autistic persons, they have impairment in cognitive function with visuo-spatial impairments.
Recognition of physical symptoms by a pediatrician followed by confirmatory genetic test is the basis of diagnosis for this syndrome. A pediatrician looks at some significant external physical signs characteristic of this syndrome including puffiness around the eyes, long philtrum and stellate pattern (arranged in a radiating pattern like that of a star) in the iris. Some less reliable symptoms of this disorder are anteverted nostrils, a wide mouth and elongated neck.
Physiological symptoms include cardiovascular problems, feeding disturbance in infants. Developmental delay is also an initial sign of this disorder. Pediatrician may also look at ultrasound to check the child's heart for irregularities. Two possible genetic tests to diagnose this order are micro-assay analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) test. These two genetic tests are more or less confirmatory in identifying Williams Syndrome than previous methods which simply relied on cardiovascular problems and facial features.
As such, this syndrome has no cure. Recommendations include avoidance of extra calcium and vitamin D and treating high levels of blood calcium. While narrowing of blood vessels can be a significant health problem, this can be treated on an individual basis. Those with joint stiffness and low muscle tone can be given physical therapy. Developmental and speech therapies are normally given to children to increase their social interactions.
Annual cardiological evaluation is recommended for those with Williams Syndrome. Ophthalmic evaluations and examination for hernia, hearing assessments, blood pressure measurement, developmental and growth evaluation, ortho assessment of joints, muscle tone and assessments of diet and feeding to manage constipation and urinary problems are suggested.
Management of Williams Syndrome
This is a syndrome that cannot be cured but can be managed. Early medical evaluation and treatment can go a long way in managing certain developmental delays and heart problems. It is important for family members to remember that this is a rare condition and that the affected individual cannot be expected to live a normal life due to complications arising out of the disease.
Music is viewed by some as one of the most effective treatment for this syndrome. Music helps in healing the internal and external anxiety of those afflicted.
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Diseases, Symptoms, Tests and Treatment arranged in alphabetical order:
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 25, 2022