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KARACHI: A majority of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affected kids in Pakistan are victims of bullying, which further deteriorates their illness.

According to an estimate, 78% percent of ADHD patients who received treatment at Kazim Trust during a 12-year period faced bullying in a part of their lives, which seriously harmed their lives and their role in society.

This was stated by Dr Zainab F. Zadeh, an expert of mental diseases, who is also an advisor to Kazim Trust, while speaking at the virtual International CHADD conference on ADHD. Her topic was ADHD and Bullying: Barriers and Challenges for Pakistani Parents.

ADHD people are at higher risk of being bullied due to their vulnerabilities. To make it worse, the disorder of ADHD is being untreated in Pakistan largely because of its unawareness and stigma in our society. Persistent bullying of ADHD patients leads to various psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, aggression, frustration, sleep deprivation, and low self-esteem, she explained. Bullies target the vulnerable kids from the child's disability, including their way of understanding, socializing, and academic performance, also giving unusual and often derogatory names to the victims.

Bullying is reported through physical assault like pushing, kicking. etc., or through verbal bullying, such as name-calling, mocking, threatening and so on, Dr Zadeh added.

The ADHD afflicted students then find it difficult to concentrate on their studies and extracurricular activities, resulting in poor performance in both academics and sports. Some of the kids harm themselves mentally and physically and some even have suicidal thoughts in the worst-case scenario.

Teachers and parents often do not consider these mental issues with any seriousness and as a disease, and instead term the kids as lazy and weak compared with their siblings and classmates. A significant majority of parents believe that ADHD affected kids are possessed by evil spirits which control the actions and personality of their kids. However, treating their kids with spiritual treatment cannot cure their disorder effectively.

The delays in the treatment of the disorder through various other ways further deteriorate the disorder in most of the cases, she added. Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness, understanding, and knowledge of the issues in our society. In Pakistan, the resources to deal with ADHD and mental disorders are very limited including institutions and skilled professionals. These patients can be treated through various therapies such as remedial therapy, assertiveness training CBT, ABA, etc along with medication if needed.

In this regard, Kazim Trust is running various awareness campaigns including conferences to de-stigmatize mental health in our society, besides providing quality professional services to manage ADHD in kids and in adults.

The treatment is available in a few major cities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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