What is ADHD?
What is ADHD?
There are times when the best of us loses self-control, get impatient or may feel agitated or overactive. This is normal human behavior, but people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) always display these actions.
So, ADHD is a developmental disorder and learning disability in which people are impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive. They do not do so intentionally. Instead, they have no control over their behavior.
It is most common in children ages 10 to 17, and for most diagnosed cases, identified clients are males. During the early years of school, ADHD in children starts to become apparent when they exhibit symptoms like lack of focus and critical thinking, problems sitting still, talking nonstop, etc. It is present in adults, but the prevalence is less than among youngsters.
Types and Symptoms of ADHD
Based on symptomatic behaviors, there are three types.
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Predominantly Hyperactivity-Impulsive
- Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
As the word, inattentive suggests, patients with this type get easily distracted, find it difficult to follow instructions, lose focus on designated tasks and chores, and find it difficult to complete tasks.
They may or may not display highly hyperactive and impulsive behavior, but paying attention and following instructions is nearly always impossible.
Symptoms of Predominantly Inattentive are, patients:
- Lack focus
- Easily get distracted
- Cannot follow instructions
- Cannot complete tasks
- Are visibly confused or lost when you speak to them
- Are forgetful about daily tasks
- Make mistakes
- Lack of ability to prioritize
- Lose things often
People with this type always have more than normal energy and are extremely impulsive in their decisions and actions. They need instant results on everything.
Symptoms of Predominantly Hyperactivity-Impulsive are patients:
- Cannot stay still and quiet
- Keep squirming and bouncing
- Need to stay constantly moving
- Talks excessively, even in inappropriate settings
- Feel anxious while waiting for their turn
- Interrupt others and irritate them
Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
This is the most common type of ADHD. It involves symptoms of both the other two types.
Symptoms of ADHD in Adults
Symptoms may change as the person grows older. Such patients:
- Have trouble paying attention
- Cannot be punctual
- Are Forgetful
- Feel Anxious and depressed
- Have low self-esteem and self-confidence
- Have anger management issues
- Cannot perform well at work
- Are impulsive in actions and decisions
- Are impatient for rewards and consequences
- Are Disorganized
- Get involved in substance use
- Have relationship issues
- Get easily irritated and offended
- Have problems reading
- Suffer excessive mood swings
Causes of ADHD
It occurs when the brain loses its ability to pay attention, control emotions and actions.
There are many myths about the causes in children, such as:
- Eating too much sugar during childhood
- Watching excessive television
- “Bad” parenting
- Social conditions like poverty
- Poor academic performance
However, research data does not support any of these reasons. The actual cause of ADHD is still unknown, but based on some research, doctors suggest that:
- It may be genetic
- It may be caused due to substance use and smoking by parents during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental agents like lead by parents during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental agents like lead in infancy or teenage
- Depression and Anxiety of parent during Pregnancy
- Premature birth
- Underweight when born
- Some physical injury to the brain.
Diagnosis of ADHD
For the proper diagnosis of ADHD in children (or even adults), the mental health specialist has to collect in-depth information about the patient.
There is no lab test for ADHD, and the doctor has to speak to the patient, his/her parents, friends, and teachers to find out about the child’s behavior, history, and other details. Moreover, doctors also go for evaluations like hearing and vision screening to find if the patient has any other physical or mental conditions.
How is ADHD treated?
Although there is no cure for ADHD, you can manage its symptoms to live a normal life. A combination treatment of medicines and counseling is predominantly used. Other important factors that help to improve the symptoms are self-care and support from family, friends, and teachers.
Medicines and required dosages are prescribed for ADHD in adults according to age, health condition, and disorder severity. But it is not the standard for the medicine to be effective.
Even after considering these factors, doctors can only prescribe by estimation and on a trial-and-error basis to assign the correct dosage. These medications are only effective during the period taken and do not provide a permanent cure.
After stopping usage, patients return to previous behaviour patterns of impulsivity, hyperarousal, and distractibility.
There are two broad categories of medicines used for ADHD.
- Non Stimulants
Stimulants are the most widely used and are found to be highly effective. Doctors prefer these medicines because they help almost all patients.
Stimulants work by increasing the dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the neurological system. Their effects are observed when the chemical moves from the blood to the brain.
In cases where stimulants are ineffective or interfere with other issues like underlying anxiety, doctors move towards non-stimulants which take almost five to seven days to provide complete benefit.
Mental health care specialists help people gain self-control, adopt a healthy living style, learn skills to enhance focus and control troubling emotions.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy teaches the person to form a pattern between thoughts and actions. It also increases the self-esteem of the patients and shows them their strengths.
Neurofeedback is a somatic psychotherapy and can help train the brain using games to focus and reduce hyperactivity.
There is no shame in getting help to make your life better. If you are looking for a good mental health service provider, we suggest you contact The Insight Clinic. With a highly professional, trained, experienced, and empathic approach to treatment, mental health begins in a very supportive environment.
Treating ADHD in children or ADHD in adults helps many aspects of your life, and compassionate support is within your reach. We want only the best for you on your mental wellness journey and are certain you’ll begin to take those steps. All the best!