with thanks to Dr Monika Bajaj, neurodevelopmental paediatrician practising privately in east London.
ADHD is a chronic life long disorder of self-regulation with symptoms persisting in >70-80% adolescents and >50% adults.
It is real disorder with real long-term risks, just to quote a few impacts….
- Up to 30% of children may have depression and up to half of girls with ADHD may attempt self-harm
- Children with untreated ADHD are >5 times more likely to participate in fights and underachieve at school
- Adults with ADHD are 9 times more likely to end up in prison, more likely to experience financial problems and being fired from a job.
- Adults with ADHD have a higher mortality compared to those without mainly due to causes such as driving accidents, substance abuse, obesity and co-morbid problems (Dalsgaard et al. Lancet 2015, May;385(9983):2190-6)
- Organisational skills problems (time management, memory, late and unfinished homework and projects)
- Erratic work and academic performance
- Family/marital problems
- Poor sleep and other household routines
- Difficulty managing finances, impulsive shopping
- Compulsive addictions – sex, gambling, video gaming, exercise, eating
- Frequent accidents secondary to recklessness
- Speeding tickets, car and motorbike accidents
- First degree relatives with ADHD
- Low self-esteem, chronic under-achievement
ADHD is usually diagnosed after the age of 6 years to allow for the child to mature. Almost all children have times when their behaviour seems unacceptable and age inappropriate. However, when behaviours happen many times a week or daily, ADHD ought to be looked for. NICE guidance allows children to be treated after the age of 5 years and medication makes a huge and quick difference along with psychoeducation and behavioural management.
Resources: The Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance (www.caddra.ca is an excellent resource for professionals with free downloads).
US guidelines have recently changed to allow treatment of some 4 year olds with debilitating features of ADHD (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Practice -Guideline-for-the-Diagnosis-Evaluation-and-Treatment-of- ADHD.aspx)
UK support group: https://www.borntobeadhd.co.uk/
Part 2 of Medically Unexplained Symptoms this month. Also antibiotics in cystitis, too many investigations in community acquired pneumonia, carotenaemia and heart murmurs in unwell children. Do leave comments below:
NICE on honey this month. And antibiotics in URTIs. Also blueberry muffin syndrome courtesy of our dermatology contributor, medically unexplained symptoms from a great on line resource from MindEd (https://www.minded.org.uk/Component/Details/525083) and information for practitioners and young people and families after a first afebrile seizure. Please do leave comments below:
Christmas disease this month, acute psychosis in children, an Emoji guide to the workings of the facial nerve, sleep hygiene and the start of a 2 part series on measles. Happy New Year and do leave comments below!
This month brings a handout entitled “Towards a healthy lifestyle…” which is a collaboration between dietitians, physiotherapists, psychiatrists and paediatricians at Homerton Hospital. We have found many families are keen to do something about their child’s weight but don’t know where to start. Hopefully this friendly article aiming for families to be “healthy enough” is a good place to start.
Also a bit on faltering growth, on-line safety, BRUE and the investigations that do not need to be done. Tachycardia is (of course) mentioned again. Do leave comments below.
Using HEADSSS assessment by Dr Emma Parish
In the UK we often discuss our ageing population but sometimes fail to see the significant proportion of those in adolescence, between 12 – 19% of the total UK population in 20171.
Engaging this age group can be daunting for health professionals. HEADSSS is an interview prompt or psychosocial tool to use with young people. Still growing in the consciousness of health professionals (and in the letters making up its acronym) HEADS(SS) was first presented in publication in 19882. It has a reported yield of 1 in 3 for identifying concerns that warrant further investigation.
It follows a simple structure remembered by the acronym:
Education & Employment
Self-harm, depression & suicide
Safety (including social media/online)
The great news is that many studies have shown that self-assessment with HEADSSS tools before discussion (completed at home or in waiting rooms) yields equal, and in some cases more, information than conducting the assessment in person. Helpful for time-strapped clinicians and better utilisation of time for young people attending appointments.
Key tips for using HEADSSS
- Greet young person first, let them introduce others
- Practice discussing issues that embarrass you
- Be clear in what you mean by confidentiality relating to discussion
- See young people on their own routinely (whenever clinically appropriate)
- Use linking phrases and questions that don’t presume:
- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
- Do you have someone important in your life?
- Have you been in a relationship before? Tell me more…
For more details see the RCPCH Young People’s Health Special Interest Group (YPSIG) app – free to download here: https://app.appinstitute.com/heeadsss
Or this short HEADS-ED assessment tool: http://www.heads-ed.com/en/headsed/HEADSED_Tool_p3751.html
- Association of Young People’s Health – Key Statistics Document 2017 download here: http://www.ayph.org.uk/keydata2017/FullVersion2017.pdf
- Cohen, E, MacKenzie, R.G., Yates, G.L. (1991). HEADSS, a psychosocial risk assessment instrument: Implications for designing effective intervention programs for runaway youth. Journal of Adolescent Health 12 (7): 539-544.
Proteinuria this month, babies’ poo, bedwetting and a bit more on paediatric hypertension. Please do leave comments below.
Sepsis and the “in-betweeners” this month. How to categorise the unwell children you are just not quite sure about. Also testing in malaria, the new NHSGo app and cardiac assessment prior to starting medications for ADHD. Do leave comments below:
With thanks to Geoff Ferguson, Director of the Parent Infant Centre (www.infantmentalhealth.com) for the following explanation of the Acquarone scales:
The Acquarone Detection Scales for Early Relationships are observational scales that provide a powerful tool for assessing an infant’s capacity to form relationships and a mother’s ability to respond to her infant. The scales have been developed during several decades of clinical practice by Dr Stella Acquarone, who is also the author of several books on infant development and parent infant psychotherapy and Principal of the Parent Infant Clinic. The Parent Infant Clinic is a private service but does have some subsidised places for families with limited financial resources.
There are two scales, a 25 item scale for observations of the infant and a 13 item scale for observations of the mother. In each case observations are divided into four domains: interpersonal, sensorial, motor and affect. Within each domain observers are asked to note the frequency of certain behaviours. For example, when observing ‘calling’ the observer is looking for ‘facial expressions, noises or gestures that seek to produce an affectionate response from the partner’.
A concern about the infant or the mother might be raised if a particular behaviour was never observed, perhaps showing a difficulty in relating, or was constantly observed, perhaps showing a defensive repetitiveness. The scales can be used to establish a thorough observational benchmark against which later changes can be compared.
Click here to see an example.
November 2015: diagnosing asthma this month, a synopsis of vitamin D deficiency as we go into the winter, a helpful cartoon around mental well-being and hypermobility demystified. All comments gratefully received!