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Three Ways the Pandemic has Impacted Children with ADHD Globally

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I still remember the day my supervisor walked into our office to let us know that we would be working from home for two weeks. Those two weeks quickly became two months, and eventually, almost two years.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I remember everyone around me hyper focusing on washing hands, never leaving the house without a mask on, and carrying hand sanitizers everywhere. The biggest concern for many people was to not catch the virus.

But as weeks blended into months, people began to feel the toll of the pandemic on their mental health. This is especially true for children with ADHD.

Recent studies have shown that the pandemic affected various aspects of a child’s life. In this post, I will discuss the 3 ways the pandemic has impacted children with ADHD around the world.

Lifestyle of the child

During the pandemic, researchers in India created an online survey for families and their children with ADHD. Forty-eight parents decided to participate in this survey and share information about their child’s behavior.

Parents reported on a few lifestyle changes during the lockdown:

  1. Children spent more time studying
  2. Children spent more time playing video games and games on mobile phone
  3. Children spent more time watching TV and on mobile devices

Similarly, another study from Canada shows changes in lifestyle for children with ADHD. They surveyed 587 parents/caregivers of children with ADHD in Canada during spring 2020. Parents/caregivers reported the following changes:

  1. Children sleeping fewer hours at night
  2. Children eating more processed food
  3. Children watching more TV
  4. Children spending more time playing videogames

Worsening of symptoms

Aside from lifestyle changes, both studies reported worsening of symptoms among children with ADHD. Children in Canada had more symptoms of severe anxiety and depression during the lockdown. Additionally, children in India showed an increase in disruptive behaviors and tantrums/ irritability.

Symptoms of ADHD
Worsening of symptoms

Parent-child relationship

Along with children, many parents were also stuck at home during the pandemic. Parents had to juggle among work from home, being a teacher to their child, providing care for their child, and many more. This stressful time for parents created some friction in parent-child relationship, but also, gave them an opportunity to spend more time with their child.

More than half of the parents in India reported spending more time with and praising their child while being in a lockdown. However, some of them also reported irritable behavior, shouting at their child, hitting and punishing their child.

Next Steps

The pandemic has upended the lives of people around the world. Children were homeschooled and parents were working from home. There were sudden changes and disruptions in everyone’s day-to-day lives.

These disruptions particularly affected children with ADHD, who really need to maintain their daily activities. We need to find solutions to help these children with their mental health symptoms, and provide support to parents to foster better parent-child relationship.

To learn more about ADHD, please read my recent blog post.