To determine if your child has ADHD, your doctor will collect information from you, your family members, and teachers. He will review symptoms and rating scales, as well as perform a physical exam to check for other health issues. In addition to speaking with your doctor, you may also want to discuss your child’s behavior with a school counselor. Schools regularly assess children for conditions that affect their ability to learn. If you suspect that your child is suffering from ADHD, you may want to seek help as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
People with ADHD struggle with excessive distractibility, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty finishing tasks. This condition can lead to a messy home and a lack of organization. Children with ADHD often find it difficult to keep things organized, which causes them to fail at schoolwork or other tasks. They can also experience feelings of boredom and the need to be physically active at inappropriate times. Regardless of the age of the person affected by ADHD, it is important to consult a healthcare professional if these signs are present in the child.
Children with ADHD have short attention spans and are often easily distracted. They often forget what to do or answer a question. Their carelessness may also lead them to lose things. They may also exhibit signs of hyperactivity, including constant fidgeting, excessive talking, interrupting conversations, or acting without thinking. Children with ADHD often struggle to stay still and wait their turn. ADHD is also associated with changes in neurotransmitters and affects two distinct attentional networks in the brain.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends behavioral therapy for children under six. During class time, behavioral interventions may include work breaks and soft classical music. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps children develop executive functioning skills, is also recommended. When treating children with ADHD, it’s important not to have unrealistic expectations or punish them unnecessarily. Parents may also choose to seek the help of a healthcare provider.
Types of ADHD
Adults with inattentive ADHD are known as “space cadets” because of their tendency to study flies on the wall during a meeting. This behavior can cause a great deal of frustration because they can’t keep up with important tasks, and may be written off as a flaky personality. They often have trouble focusing on the tasks at hand, including their bills. Adults with inattentive ADHD often struggle with completing tasks on time and may even forget to send birthday cards.
Adults with the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD can be fidgety and talkative, while adults with the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD may be fidgety or impulsive. However, people with both types of ADHD must exhibit six of these signs to be diagnosed with the condition. These symptoms can be difficult to recognize, and may include difficulty focusing, keeping attention, and controlling impulses. People with both types of ADHD often have difficulties controlling their impulses.
Understanding the three main types of ADHD helps people manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. A physician will be able to diagnose a person with ADHD with the appropriate treatment plan, including strategies to play up strengths and tools to compensate for weaknesses. Although effective treatment may take time, a doctor can help. A guide to finding an appropriate mental health care provider is available at Psych Central. It also contains information for parents and children about the various types of ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
While there are no established biological causes for ADHD, environmental factors can play a role. The presence of toxins, infections during pregnancy, and brain damage can cause ADHD. Various scientific and clinical practices have also been linked to the disorder. ADHD affects approximately five to seven percent of children according to DSM-IV criteria and between one and two percent by ICD-10 criteria. Approximately eight million people around the world are affected by ADHD, but rates will vary based on diagnosis methods.
Researchers believe that ADHD is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. These substances play a critical role in the transmission of stimuli to and from nerve cells. Decreased levels of these chemicals disrupt the functioning of the brain and lead to faulty information processing. ADHD affects sections of the brain that coordinate functions in information processing and control behavior. These desynchronized processes can impair the ability to concentrate and can affect perception and impulse control.
Regardless of age, people with ADHD are often unaware that they have the disorder. To diagnose ADHD, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary. It includes a history and review of past symptoms, medical examination, and a variety of adult rating scales. Once diagnosed, treatment includes psychotherapy and medication. In some cases, behavioral management strategies are useful. If a parent or child is not sure of the condition, a professional will perform an evaluation to determine if they are suffering from it.
How is ADHD Diagnosed?
When you are young, you might have wondered, “How is ADHD diagnosed?” In general, it is considered to be a disorder characterized by excessive impulsivity and inattention. While this is a normal part of childhood, some children do have symptoms that are more pronounced in girls or women than in boys. However, studies have shown that younger children are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, even if they do not display the typical signs of this disorder. Younger children are simply immature and less likely to exhibit symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity.
A healthcare provider will begin the process of diagnosing ADHD by reviewing your child’s history and behavior. He will ask questions about your child’s life and how it is affecting his or her school performance. Older children and teens may be more able to answer these questions. An examination may be necessary to rule out other possible diagnoses or physical health concerns. After the initial evaluation, your healthcare provider will provide a diagnosis and treatment plan for your child.
When a child is suspected of having ADHD, a physician will conduct a thorough medical history and clinical interview. Neuropsychological tests may also be conducted to gain further insight into a child’s strengths and weaknesses. Neuropsychological tests are important to determine whether a child is suffering from any comorbid conditions. Pediatricians and guidance counselors may refer a child to a psychologist for a more thorough diagnosis. If your child is showing signs of ADHD, your family physician may refer him or her to a psychologist.
Treatsments for ADHD
Adults with ADHD often require a combination of psychosocial, educational, and medical treatment. Although medication is not a cure for ADHD, it may be the most effective way to control symptoms. Most people who take medications for ADHD are prescribed stimulants, which appear to enhance the activity of certain brain chemicals. Some people with ADHD may also need to take other drugs, such as antidepressants or other psychostimulants. But before you decide on any medication, consult with your doctor to understand the risks of taking this type of medication.
In the study, 93% of parents reported their children received school support and/or behavioral therapy. In addition, 63% received psychosocial treatment. Of these, three-fourths received parent-delivered behavior therapy, a form of behavior therapy for children up to age 12. Other forms of behavioral therapy include psychosocial training and peer interventions. A smaller percentage of children received no treatment at all. For younger children, behavioral classroom interventions may be helpful.
Behavioral therapy teaches children with ADHD to develop self-control and develop verbal self-instruction. It can help adults cope with mental health issues, substance abuse, and relationships with others. It can also help adults with ADHD improve communication and problem-solving skills. These treatments can be used to help improve relationships with their children. A couple can also take classes to learn more about ADHD and how to deal with the symptoms of the disorder.
ADHD in Adults
If you have been experiencing the symptoms of ADHD in adulthood, you may be a candidate for an evaluation. Symptoms of ADHD must be present since childhood and be interfering with daily life. A doctor will evaluate a number of factors, including the patient’s medical history, developmental history, behavioral patterns, and interactions with other people. Women tend to exhibit different symptoms than men do, and the proper diagnosis is difficult without a thorough physical examination.
In addition to the physical symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults can also affect a person’s executive functioning, or the ability to organize, prioritize, and complete tasks. Executive functioning problems become more evident as responsibilities increase and the patient becomes more uncontrollable. Adults with ADHD also have problems controlling their emotions, often manifesting in rude or insulting thoughts. People with ADHD may also be prone to developing other disorders, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Symptoms of ADHD in adults vary widely from those of childhood, but most are related to difficulty focusing on a single task. They may have difficulty organizing and planning their schedules, and may make careless mistakes at work. They may also experience trouble sitting still, fidget excessively, or feel restless. Adults with ADHD may have trouble controlling impulses and risk-taking behaviors. The symptoms of ADHD in adults can be difficult to pinpoint due to lack of research.
A doctor may prescribe stimulants, a treatment for ADHD, to help control a child’s behavior. Stimulants are a class of drugs that produce a high energy level in the brain. Several types of stimulants are available, including long-acting and short-acting formulations. Short-acting stimulants must be taken several times a day, and long-acting forms must be taken just once a day. While long-acting stimulants have fewer side effects, short-acting medications are often hard to remember. Stimulants are known to raise blood pressure and heart rate, and may cause changes in a child’s personality.
Parents should talk with their pediatrician and health-care providers before deciding on a medication for ADHD. They need to understand the side effects, the dose, and other important information before starting a child on a medication. They should also be aware of potential drug interactions, as well as how the medication will affect a child’s school and social life. If the child seems to be responding well to the medication, a doctor may prescribe another form of treatment.
The most common forms of ADHD medication are stimulants. They boost the production of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. However, stimulants may have addictive properties and require escalating doses to achieve the same effect. Nonstimulants, like antidepressants, are an alternative. They work slowly, so they may be an excellent choice if stimulants are too harsh or cause intolerable side effects.