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ADHD: A Quick Guide

ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects behavior. As the name suggests, the condition affects hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.  

ADHD is often discovered at an early age, but symptoms become more noticeable when dealing with changing circumstances such as when they start school. Most diagnoses are made during ages 3 to 7, but there are cases where it is diagnosed later in life.  

Symptoms usually improve with age. However, people who were diagnosed early continue to experience challenges as adults. People with this condition may also be affected by other problems such as sleep and anxiety disorders.

What Causes ADHD?

While there are no exact causes of ADHD, studies have shown that there are genetic and environmental components that lead to the condition. Apart from this, there are also possible differences in the brains of people with and without ADHD. These differences include:

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects behavior. As the name suggests, the condition affects hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.  
  • ADHD is often discovered at an early age, but symptoms become more noticeable when dealing with changing circumstances such as when they start school. Most diagnoses are made during ages 3 to 7, but there are cases where it is diagnosed later in life.  
  • Symptoms usually improve with age. However, people who were diagnosed early continue to experience challenges as adults. People with this condition may also be affected by other problems such as sleep and anxiety disorders. 

What Are The Symptoms of ADHD?

The most apparent symptoms of the condition can be divided into three types of behavioral patterns: 

Hyperactivity 

  • Appear to be in constant motion with no evident endgame in mind 
  • Has difficulty staying still/sitting in place 
  • Fidgets and talks excessively 
  • Has difficulty performing quiet activities 
  • Loses track or forgets things frequently 
  • Inability to finish tasks or constantly shifting from one task to another without completing any 

Impulsiveness

  • Frequently interrupts other people 
  • Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn in social situations 
  • Takes frequent risks, often without thinking of the consequences 

Inattentiveness

  • Has difficulty sustaining attention, listening, and attending to details 
  • Easily distracted 
  • Loses track or forgets things frequently 
  • Poor organizational skills 
  • Does not follow through on instructions 

There is a significant number of cases that fall into both patterns, but this is not a certainty for everyone. Parents are often reminded to watch out for symptoms in their children. These include: 

  • Avoid challenging tasks 
  • Daydreaming 
  • Excessive activity or restlessness 
  • Emotional outbursts 
  • Failure to follow instructions 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Inability to focus 
  • Interruptions 
  • Impatience 
  • Problems playing quietly 
  • Self-focused behavior 
  • Unfinished tasks 

Boys are more often diagnosed with the disorder than girls. However, this is because girls have more chances of getting symptoms of inattentiveness and are less likely to display disruptive behavior. This means girls who are affected may not be always diagnosed properly. 

ADHD in Adults

Despite being usually discovered during childhood, adults are also susceptible to ADHD. These are cases wherein symptoms have been dormant or minimal until later in life. Adults who have the condition suffer from symptoms such as:  

  • Disorganization/Prioritization problems 
  • Excessive activity or restlessness 
  • Frequent mood swings 
  • High temper 
  • Impulsiveness 
  • Low frustration tolerance 
  • Poor planning 
  • Poor time management skills 
  • Problems focusing on tasks 
  • Problems following through and completing tasks 
  • Trouble dealing with stress 
  • Trouble multitasking 

How Do You Treat ADHD?

Therapy for ADHD can include medications, behavioral therapy, counseling, and education services. Treatment depends on what works best for the child and family. The first line of treatment recommended is behavior therapy, particularly training for parents.   

Having a healthy lifestyle is also important as it can make it easier for the child to deal with ADHD symptoms.  Here are some practices that may help: 

  • Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night  
  • Limiting the amount of daily screen time (TV, computer, phones, and other electronic devices) 
  • Participating in daily physical activity 
  • Develop healthy eating habits 

How Do You Prevent ADHD?

Prevention of ADHD comes before and during childhood with general practices such as:  

  • Avoiding smoking, drugs, and alcohol during pregnancy, therefore avoiding harming fetal development. 
  • Protecting children from being exposed to pollutants and toxins such as lead paint or cigarette smoke. 

What Are Conditions Related to ADHD?

Applicable only to some cases, there are accompanying conditions that come alongside ADHD such as:  

  • Anxiety Disorder – causes overwhelming worry and nervousness and includes obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress, constant exhaustion, and difficulty getting sleep. 
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – ASD and ADHD have similar symptoms. These include difficulty settling down, social awkwardness, impulsivity, and focusing only on things that interest them. 
  • Mood disorders – may be observed in patients with the condition.  These mood disorders are usually caused by repeated patterns of failures and frustrations due to ADHD.   
  • Conduct Disorder – signaled by antisocial behavior such as stealing, fighting, and harm both to property and people.  
  • Depression – an illness that negatively affects people’s emotions, therefore influencing thoughts and acts. 
  • Psychiatric disorders – adult patients with ADHD are at an increased risk of other disorders such as personality disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and substance use disorders. 
  • Learning disabilities – patients with the condition may score lower on academic testing than would be expected for their age, intelligence, and education.  These can include problems with understanding & communicating (ex: dyslexia, dyscalculia) 

If you have any questions about ADHD, our Medgate doctors are here to provide you with answers. Schedule a consultation today! 

References

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/#:~:text=Attention%20deficit%20hyperactivity%20disorder%20(ADHD)%20is%20a%20condition%20that%20affects,and%20may%20act%20on%20impulse. 
  2. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/adhd.html 
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adult-adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350878 
  4. https://familypsychnj.com/2018/04/12-signs-child-might-adhd/