Puberty is a natural and healthy phase of adolescence. Numerous changes can occur gradually to your body over this puberty period. Many researchers have speculated that there is a link between puberty and ADHD symptoms. The symptoms of ADHD can be strongly impacted by hormonal changes. This transition can look different for both boys and girls. However, more research is needed to thoroughly understand this connection. Keep reading to find out some of the known connections between puberty and ADHD as well as some tips and foods that can help to get over the difficulties during puberty.
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How puberty affects ADHD symptoms?
Puberty can be a challenging time for both children and parents. In developing teens, shifts in hormone levels can cause mood changes, impulsivity, and difficulty focusing. However, the transformation to puberty can be made even more difficult for children with ADHD. When it comes to emotional development, children with ADHD sometimes lag behind their peers. This means that despite the fact that both boys and girls with ADHD experience identical growth and development like their peers, they are younger in emotional level. Although the physical effects of puberty on ADHD or ADD are definitely more prominent in girls, they shouldn’t be dismissed in boys.
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Puberty and ADHD in boys
Boys who experience changes in their testosterone levels during adolescence tend to take more risks. Mood problems and anxiety often emerge between the ages of 8 and 12. Testosterone interacts intricately with other hormones related to ADHD, including dopamine.
- Teenage boys frequently find these tremendous physical and psychological changes, which are brought on by these “raging hormones”. They feel unpleasant at a time when they are incredibly anxious to fit in.
- Early adolescence may be difficult, isolating, and risky if longstanding ADHD symptoms have led to poor interpersonal skills and little interaction with friends.
- Teen boys may experience mood and behavioural issues as a result of these hormonal changes.
- The need to fit in with others and low self-esteem in teen boys are more likely to get involved in substance abuse.
- Signs of some behavioural disorders like conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorders can show up at this stage.
Also check, Conduct disorders in kids
Puberty and ADHD in girls
Girls normally begin puberty between the ages of 9 and 11 and begin menstruating between the ages of 11 and 14. According to research, symptoms of ADHD in girls frequently aggravate during puberty as the level of oestrogen rises. As you are already aware, a girl undergoes significant changes during puberty as she makes the shift from childhood to adulthood.
- Girl may feel a variety of emotions as a result of the biological, intellectual, and social changes that are occurring in her body as it grows and develops.
- Parents may encounter moodiness and emotional fluctuation from teen girls as they sort through the problems and inner confusions that their maturing bodies, thoughts, and shifting social interactions give rise to.
- Girls with ADHD may experience mood and behavioural issues as a result of these hormonal changes.
- Sleep issues could arise or get worse, and challenges like being easily distracted, having trouble focusing, being disorganised, and feeling overwhelmed could become more common.
- This can make her more self-conscious. As a girl starts to internalise unfavourable beliefs about herself, her self-esteem may drastically decline.
- Girls with ADHD often struggle more with premenstrual symptoms, which can make the situation worse.
Also check, Puberty in girls
Tips for parents to help your kids during puberty
1. Educate your kids
Talk to your child in a quiet, calm voice while paying attention to their emotions. Educate your kid by reading some books or through cartoon videos. In addition to providing tips and tactics, it can help them to become more organised and conscious of their strengths and struggles, this can help them realise they are not the only ones dealing with puberty.
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A youngster is far less likely to be impulsive if they are well-balanced in all other areas of their lives, including sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress management. Monitor your teen’s stress level closely, and if you notice overload developing, offer them support and direction to resolve it.
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3. Peer relationships
Knowing who your kid is hanging out with and trying to encourage them to talk to you about friendship and relationship issues are the most essential things you can do. Encouragement of extracurricular activities is also crucial since they provide social interactions in a standardised manner. You might need to contact a therapist who teaches social skills if you notice that they are genuinely struggling to make and keep friends.
Also check, Benefits of behavioural therapy
Many parents of teenagers with ADHD are concerned about declining motivation as a result of social and academic failures. Give your teen several chances to engage in activities that promote self-esteem. This could be anything from games to a hobby to a commitment, like looking after a pet, that affirms their value and potential to contribute.
Also check, Tips to manage tantrums
Foods to be avoided and Alternative suggestions
Casein is one of the major proteins found in any dairy product. Casein upon reaction with stomach acid creates an exorphin. Exorphins can cause a variety of problems, including brain fog, fuzziness, difficulty concentrating, and numbness to pain, when they bind to the opioid receptor sites.
Dairy alternatives: Plant-based or nut milk like almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk can be used.
It is a protein found in many kinds of cereal like wheat, barley, and rye. These gluten proteins when consumed can aggravate inflammation as the body starts producing antibodies against gluten that may cause an inflammatory reaction in the brain.
Gluten alternatives: Gluten-free products like millets, rice lentils and pulses can be used.
Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates while increasing lean protein will greatly enhance judgement and focus while reducing impulsivity.
Sugar Alternatives: Jaggery or brown sugar can be used. Try including probiotic products in diet as it helps in digestion issues.
Also, check Healthy sugar alternatives for kids
4. ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS:
Preservatives, dyes and artificial colours, artificial flavourings, and artificial sweeteners should all be avoided.
Also, check Harmful side effects of Food Preservatives
Herbs that can help to manage the ADHD symptoms
1. GOTU KOLA:
Gotu kola has strong anti-oxidant qualities and enhances cognition, memory, and mental performance. It gently relaxes the nervous system while also encouraging alertness—the best possible state of consciousness for any form of mental focus, study, or cognition.
Spearmint extract has higher quantities of phenolic compounds that enhance working memory, spatial working memory and increase attention, concentration, and brain function by promoting the formation and protection of new brain cells.
Also check: 5 Ayurvedic herbs for kids
3. ST. JOHN’S WORT:
St John’s wort contains chemical messengers like Hyperforin and Adhyperforin, which are recognised for their antidepressant qualities. The extracts of this herb enhance mood, and focus, and reduce anxiety and insomnia. According to several studies, adolescents with ADHD may benefit from taking St. John’s wort every day for four weeks. It is also used to treat problems including anxiety, exhaustion, appetite loss, and difficulty sleeping that might occasionally accompany depression.
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4. PASSION FLOWER:
The chemicals in the passion flower provide a calming and relaxing effect. Early research indicates that taking passion flowers orally for eight weeks may help some ADHD symptoms in kids aged 6 to 13 years.
The herb valerian has relaxation properties. Additionally, it contains some anticonvulsant qualities that might be advantageous for kids who are prone to seizure activity. Children with ADHD, cognitive impairment, hyperactivity, irritability, anxiety, behavioural regulation, and neurodevelopmental abnormalities can benefit from valerian for improved attention and sleep.
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The most well-known essential oil for soothing is lavender. The lavender essential oil can be helpful for reducing anxiety and making you feel more at ease, which may help with ADHD symptoms. The aroma of lavender helps in calming and soothing the nervous system. Its relaxing qualities can benefit autistic children by enhancing their sleep quality and assisting their bodies in combating emotional stress.
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Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric improves spatial memory, long-time retrieval and visual memory as per a study. It helps in managing anxiety, depression etc which is commonly seen in people with ADHD disorder.
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8. GINKGO BILOBA:
Ginkgo biloba is a promising herbal supplement that may alter the neural system in a disorder similar to ADHD. It helps in enhancing memory and cognitive performance. According to a study, children who took a ginkgo extract daily for three to five weeks showed a decrease in the symptoms of ADHD.
Also check, Foods for brain development
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