Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in India has become a major problem.

December 7, 2022 - Reading time: 4 minutes
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In the study Prevalence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Primary School Children, conducted in Coimbatore, India, researchers found that ADHD prevalence was higher than the global estimate, at 11.32%. The highest prevalence was found at ages 9 and 10 (both with a rate of 26.4%).

When it comes to ADHD, the study found that more males were diagnosed with the disorder than females. Children who were diagnosed with ADHD were observed to have difficulties in reading and writing as well as having behaviour problems in school.

According to a study conducted in different parts of India, the high rate of ADHD can be between 2-17%. That means 10 million Indian children are diagnosed with ADHD annually.

Coping with ADHD in India

Unfortunately, there is no cure for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But that's not to say its symptoms can't be managed therapeutically. The condition does not go away in 30 to 50 percent of children with ADHD, who go on to develop the disorder as adults.

Medications can help with pain and other symptoms

With ADHD, you may feel overwhelmed and not sure when you're going to bounce off the walls. Medicines used to manage symptoms like these help balance out neurotransmitters, which can greatly improve symptoms. Stimulant medications work for about 70-80% of people. They can be used during both moderate and severe cases of ADHD.

Children over the age of 3 and children over the age of 6 can take specific stimulants that help with energy, focus, or depression. These drugs are sometimes used by people who have a hard time at work, school, or home.

Medications available for ADHD are:

  • Stimulants: These medications help improve focus, and minimize distractions. Some examples of stimulants are Amphetamine or Adderall, Amphetamine or Adzenys, and Dextroamphetamine or Dexedrine.
  • Non-stimulants: When side effects from stimulants are too high, this medicine can help to reduce them. Non-stimulant examples include:
  • Atomoxetine or Bupropion – This drug was the first non-stimulant approved by the FDA and can be prescribed to individuals of any age, including children, adolescents, and adults.
  • Clonidine hydrochloride (Kapvay) – This medicine is one of the few approved for use as a single treatment or in conjunction with a stimulant.
  • Guanfacine (Intuniv) is a medicine that was approved for children and teenagers aged between 6 and 17 years.
  • Amitriptyline, Bupropion, Escitalopram, Venlafaxine are some other pills. They're alternative medicines which aren't as popular but might be an option for you.

ADHD and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Some Indian Communities

Although ADHD is quite common in India, parents are reluctant to subject their children to medications. Of children who've been prescribed ADHD drugs, 83.3% discontinued the treatment within the first month. The biggest reason for dropping the drug was that it lost its effectiveness. Other reasons given included side effects, problems in hospitals (presumably lack of trust), and fear that the child became addicted.

We've discovered that parents in lower-income classes have shown considerable willingness to tap non-pharmacological methods, a study Hyperactive Around the World? The History of ADHD in a Global Perspective has indicated.

Non-pharmacological solutions for India

There are alternative solutions that have been proposed in India:

  • Psychosocial interventions involve behavioural intervention, parent training, peer and social skills training, and classroom-based intervention.
  • Body-focused activities include but are not limited to yoga and other forms of physical exercises, sleep interventions, and mindfulness techniques.
  • Cognitive-behavioural Therapy - with research evidence showing that the therapy delivers real-world benefits for adults with ADHD
  • Neuro-cognitive training - games like the Cogo game from Singapore-based Neeuro Pte. Ltd. and researchers from the IMH, Duke-NUS, and A*STAR that help adults, children, or military personnel build attention span with EEG biofeedback training.

Researchers have found that the alternative solution of EEG-based attention training is a promising way to help those with ADHD. The latest brain scans of children with ADHD showed reorganized connectivity, suggesting less inattentive symptoms and greater symptoms of hyperactivity.

adminADHDtest's team comprises experts in counseling, data mining, AI, and ADHD, uniquely blending cutting-edge technology with deep psychological insights to explore and address the complexities of ADHD.