Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder – Staying focused is too tough
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, refers to a range of psychological problems like poor concentration, constant activity, being easily distracted, impulsivity, or a combination of all of them. However, a person is said to be suffering from ADHD only when the behavior reaches abnormal levels with respect to age and development and is disruptive at home or school, or other settings.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a significant mental health issue that causes excessive impulsivity and hyperactivity. Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder might struggle to organize tasks, concentrate on specific work, or remain still for extended periods.
Many people endure inattention and energy fluctuations. This occurs more frequently and to a greater extent in people with ADHD than those without the disorder. It can substantially impact their schooling, employment, and personal lives.
In kids, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most usually diagnosed mental condition, and it is more common in boys than in girls. It’s commonly detected in early elementary school when a youngster exhibits attention issues. ADHD affects approximately 8.4% of kids and 2.5 percent of adults.
ADHD cannot be healed or avoided. A kid or adult with ADHD may handle their symptoms if ADHD is diagnosed early and they have a potent treatment and education plan. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes this diagnosis (APA).
Causes of ADHD
What triggers ADHD is unknown to experts. Several factors: could cause it.
- Genes – Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a trait that runs through generations.
- A brain disorder or injury – Injury to the brain’s frontal lobe can result in issues regulating impulses and emotions.
- Brain alterations – In kids with ADHD, brain parts that influence attention are less active.
- Chemicals – In patients with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), brain chemicals could be out of balance.
- Toxins, such as lead – Can impact a kid’s brain development.
- Misc factors – Other factors affecting a baby’s brain development include poor nutrition, infections, smoking, intoxication, and substance misuse during pregnancy.
According to research, dopamine deficiency is one of the prime reasons for ADHD. Dopamine is a brain molecule that aids in transmitting signals from one nerve to another, and it aids in eliciting emotional responses and motions.
According to research, the brain has a structural difference. According to the study, patients with ADHD possess a low volume of gray matter. Gray matter is made up of brain areas that aid in:
- Decision making.
- Body muscle control.
- Poor focus or inattentiveness.
- Excessive activity or hyperactivity.
- Uncontrolled behavior or impulsivity.
- Mood swings.
- Can’t follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores.
- Has problems organizing tasks and activities.
- Dislikes and avoids work that requires sustained mental effort (for example – schoolwork).
- Often misplaces things like toys, pencils, books, assignments, or tools needed for such activities.
- Is easily distracted and daydreams often.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
- Shows a lack of attention to detail.
- Makes mindless mistakes in schoolwork.
- Showing a lack of concentration during tasks or during playtime.
- Doesn’t seem to listen during face-to-face conversations.
- Squirms while sitting
- Fidgets with hands or feet
- Leaves seat when remaining seated is expected
- Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
- Has problems playing or working quietly
- Is often “on the go,” acts as if “driven by a motor”
- Talks excessively
- Jabber, without carefully listening to any question.
- Has difficulty awaiting their turn.
- Interrupts other people during conversations or other activities.
Some people with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have mainly inattentive symptoms. Some have mainly hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Others have a combination of different symptom types. Patients with primarily inattentive symptoms have attention deficit disorder (ADD). They tend to be less disruptive and are more likely not to be diagnosed with ADHD.
No standard test determines whether you or your kid has ADHD. A novel test to diagnose adult ADHD was featured in a 2017 study by trusted sources, although many physicians believe an ADHD diagnosis cannot be made based on only one test.
A doctor will evaluate your or your kid’s symptoms in the preceding six months to reach a diagnosis.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association, is used by healthcare providers to diagnose ADHD. This diagnostic criterion ensures that persons with ADHD are appropriately recognized and treated. Using the same measure across areas can also aid in determining how many kids have ADHD and how this affects public health.
Your doctor will most likely acquire feedback from teachers or families and review symptoms using questionnaires and rating scales. They’ll also conduct a physical examination to rule out other health issues.
DSM-5 Criteria for ADHD
Persons with ADHD tend to have inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that affects their ability to work and grow:
Inattention – Six or more signs of inattention for kids under the age of 16 or five or more signals for teens and adults aged 17 years and older; symptoms of inattention have been consistent for at least six months. Typical signs are:
- Pays insufficient attention to the specifics or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, job, or other activities.
- Struggles to undertake work or play activities.
- When talked to directly, he frequently does not appear to listen.
- Frequently ignores directions and fails to complete schooling, chores, or workplace responsibilities.
- Having difficulties in keeping track of tasks and activities.
- Frequently become hesitant and avoids accomplishing tasks that require sustained mental effort.
- Frequently misplaces items required for chores and activities.
- Being quickly distracted.
- Forgetfulness in everyday activities.
Hyperactivity and Impulsivity – Six or more signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity for kids under the age of 16, or five or more symptoms for teens and adults aged 17 years and older; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity also been visible for at least two years least six months. The visual symptoms of a patient are:
- Fidgets or taps their legs and fingers frequently or squirms in their chair.
- Frequently gets out of the seat.
- Frequently rushes about or climbs in inappropriate places.
- Incapable of playing or participating in fun activities without making too much noise.
- Being hyperactive as if propelled by an engine.
- Frequently speaks excessively.
- Frequently answered the question before it was completed.
- Lack of patience and can’t wait for their turn in any activity.
- Interrupts or intrudes on others frequently.
Important factors in the diagnosis
To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, you or your children must display a combination of strong ADD/ADHD hallmark symptoms, namely hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention. The mental health professional assessing the problem will also look at the following factors:
- How severe are the symptoms? – To be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, the symptoms must have a negative impact on you or your child’s life. In general, people with ADD/ADHD have significant problems in one or more areas of their life, such as their careers, finances, or family responsibilities.
- When did the symptoms start? – Since ADD/ADHD starts in childhood, the doctor or therapist will look at how early the symptoms appeared. If you are an adult, can you trace the symptoms back to your childhood?
- How long have the symptoms been bothering you or your child? – Symptoms must have been going on for at least 6 months before ADD/ADHD can be diagnosed.
- When and where do the ADHD symptoms arise? – The symptoms of ADD/ADHD must be present in multiple settings, such as at home and school. If the symptoms only appear in one environment, it is unlikely that ADD/ADHD is to blame.
In addition, the following conditions must be met:
- Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms can be identified in children with ADHD in early childhood or before age 12.
- Several symptoms of ADHD are present in two or more settings (at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
- The symptoms of ADHD can interfere with school, work, and social functioning.
- The symptoms are not better explained by other mental disorders (mood, conduct, anxiety, sleep, eating, dissociative, or personality disorders).
If you identify that you or your kid has ADHD, consult with a doctor and get an evaluation. For your child, you can also speak with their school counselor. Schools should initiate consultation for students to identify conditions and treat ADHD that may be affecting their studies.
ADHD and the risk factors
- Premature birth.
- History of ADHD among parents or siblings.
- Environmental factors such as toxin exposure. For example, exposure to lead is found in paint and pipes in old buildings.
- Substance abuse by mother during pregnancy.
- Alcoholism or smoking during pregnancy by women.
- Exposure of pregnant women to environmental poisons like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)
Several therapy choices are available once the patient is diagnosed, and treatment focuses on managing ADHD symptoms and encouraging good behaviors. If an adult or a kid has ADHD, they should speak with a doctor or psychologist about possible diagnoses and treatment options.
If you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, the below treatment choices will assist you in managing your symptoms and performing better in your daily life:
Therapy – Among the most valuable forms of therapy for ADHD, particularly for kids and teens, is behavioral therapy, which helps uncover the ideas, feelings, and behaviors that are most influential.
- Behavioral therapies that concentrate on parental training, classroom control, and social interventions are most helpful in younger kids with ADHD.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a behavioral treatment that can help teenagers and adults greatly.
Medication – ADHD medications are used alone or with behavioral treatments to help kids and adults with ADHD symptoms.
Stimulant medications and non-stimulant medications are the two categories of ADHD drugs that are used to treat ADHD. The most often recommended ADHD drugs are stimulants, and they operate quickly by enhancing brain chemical release that aids in thinking and attentiveness.
While taking these drugs, 70 to 80 percent of youngsters experience fewer symptoms.
Stimulants do have specific adverse side effects, like:
- Irritability or anxiousness
- Reduced appetite
- Sleep problems
- Blood pressure elevation
Psychostimulants, or drugs that boost central nervous system function are the first-line treatment for ADHD. Several high blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are examples of non-stimulant pharmaceutical choices for ADHD.
Lifestyle modifications – Changes in lifestyle for ADHD include measures that may assist you in dealing with the disease’s inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Here are some valuable techniques to create a structure for yourself:
- Apply time management techniques.
- Improve your study abilities.
- Develop organizational methods.
- Improve patience through meditation
Natural remedies for ADHD
Several natural remedies have been recommended to improve ADHD symptoms apart from ADHD medication.
Making lifestyle adjustments, for starters, might improve ADHD symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should:
- Getting nearly 60 minutes of daily exercise
- Getting special physical training such as Yoga, tai chi
- Consuming a nutritious and well-balanced diet
- Obtaining adequate rest
- Reducing daily screen time on smartphones, laptops, and television
- Reading new books
- Learning new recipes
- Spending time outside
Another alternative is a mindfulness practice. Meditation may help people with ADHD pay attention, according to a 2015 study.
Co-existing conditions and ADD / ADHD
It is essential to understand that an ADD/ADHD diagnosis does not rule out other mental health conditions. The following disorders are not part of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis but sometimes co-occur with ADD/ADHD or get confused with it:
- Anxiety disorders – Excessive worry that occurs frequently and is difficult to control. Symptoms include feeling restless or on edge, easily fatigued, panic attacks, irritability, muscle tension, and insomnia.
- Depression – Symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, self-loathing, changes in sleep and eating habits, and a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- Learning disabilities – Children with ADHD may also have problems with reading, writing, or mathematics. When given standardized tests, the student’s ability or intelligence is substantially higher than his or her achievement.
- Substance abuse – Teenagers or grown up children with ADHD may face the impulsivity and behavioral issues. This issue often go along with ADD/ADHD, and it can lead to alcohol and drug problems.
Managing ADD/ADHD takes work. Finding the right treatments for you or your children with ADHD is a process—one that takes time, persistence, and trial and error. But you can help yourself along the way by keeping the following concepts in mind: much as you can about ADD/ADHD, getting plenty of support, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- ADD/ADHD is treatable. Don’t give up hope. With the right treatment and support, you or your child will be able to get the symptoms of ADD/ADHD under control and build the life that you want.
- Treatment is your own responsibility. It’s up to you to take action to manage the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Health professionals can help, but ultimately, the responsibility lies in your own hands.
- Learning all you can about ADD/ADHD is key. Understanding the disorder will help you make informed decisions about all aspects of your child’s life and treatment.
- Support makes all the difference. While treatment is up to you, support from others can help you stay motivated and get you through tough times.
Your role as a parent of an ADHD child
When seeking a diagnosis for your child, you are your child’s best advocate and most important source of support. As a parent in this process, your roles are both emotional and practical. You can provide or ensure the following:
- Create a detailed schedule and stick to it.
- Ensure that your instructions are easy to understand, and avoid distractions while speaking with your child.
- Do not try to multitask while supervising your child, and provide emotional support throughout the diagnostic process.
- Choose the right specialist for your child and provide helpful information to the doctors.
- Be open and honest when answering questions about your child’s history and current adjustment.
- Focus on rewarding good behavior and encourage your child.
- Maintain regular communication with the teacher for feedback.
- If necessary, seek a second opinion for speed and accuracy of evaluation.
Remember that the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, such as concentration problems and hyperactivity, can be confused with other disorders and medical problems. Just because it looks like ADD/ADHD doesn’t mean it is, so getting a thorough assessment and diagnosis is essential.
How common is ADHD?
As per the National Institute of Mental Health, 3% to 5% of preschool and school-aged kids suffer from ADHD. Despite starting in childhood, ADHD may frequently persist into adulthood. As per several recent research, between 30% and 65% of children with ADHD experience symptoms into adolescence and adulthood.
Does ADHD affect boys and girls equally?
Practically, boys more frequently suffer from ADHD than girls, but girls are likely misdiagnosed because of their symptoms.
Is ADHD just a problem for kids?
No. The number of ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults is over 10 million (ADHD). A diagnosis of ADHD remains valid in about one-third of adults who were diagnosed with ADHD as children.
Early on in adulthood, substance abuse, mood or behavior issues, and ADHD may coexist. People with ADHD frequently deal with challenges from their work symptoms, personal and family lives, and social settings. Many people struggle with daily tasks, have interpersonal issues, perform inconsistently at work or in their jobs, and may have persistent feelings of annoyance, guilt, or blame.
Do the signs of ADHD change with diet?
While there isn’t conclusive proof that any one diet will treat or cure ADHD, several studies imply that a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and protein can help people with this issue feel better overall.
Can exercise alleviate the symptoms of ADHD?
Indeed, regular exercise can help people with this disorder pay better attention, control their hyperactivity, and generally feel better.
Should I have an adult ADD/ADHD evaluation?
Get tested for ADD/ADHD if you experience significant issues with any of the following categories:
- Daily tasks – Failure to organize items, pay bills on schedule, or perform household responsibilities
- Relationships – Losing crucial information, being unable to complete duties, and becoming furious about trivial matters
- Life goals – Feeling constant tension and concern because you can’t fulfill your obligations and ambitions
- Career or job – Not performing to your potential or ability at work
What sets ADD and ADHD apart from one another?
The disorder’s name was altered in a way many people find confusing. Since then, regardless of whether a person exhibits hyperactive symptoms, all types of attention deficit disorder are formally called “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.”
Even though these are the recognized diagnoses, many professionals and common people continue using ADD and ADHD. Some people use those terms to refer to the previous subtypes, while others only use the abbreviation ADD to refer to an example.
When is it safe to discontinue taking medication for ADHD?
See your doctor if you have any concerns about discontinuing your ADHD medications. Some indications that your child may be prepared to taper off or stop taking ADHD medications include:
- Your child’s conduct is suitable after missing one or two doses.
- Your child is improving, but the dosage hasn’t changed.
- Your child has been symptom-free for more than a year while taking medicine.
- Your child has discovered a newfound ability to concentrate.
Discuss the decision with your child’s doctor, teachers, family members, and other caregivers. If the medicine is removed, you could discover that your child requires additional assistance from his or her teachers and family members to promote positive behavior.
What effects does untreated ADHD have?
A child with ADHD may struggle in school with many symptoms, such as trouble focusing, low self-esteem, extreme restlessness, impulsive behavior, and making friends if not treated. Stress between parents and children due to untreated ADHD might also increase mood disorders, personality disorders, conduct disorders, and other issues. When parents can’t connect with their kids, they frequently place the responsibility on themselves.
Teens having ADHD are more likely to be involved in car accidents. Compared to the general population, adults with untreated ADHD experience higher divorce rates and job loss.
Fortunately, there are safe and effective medications that can help adults and children with ADHD manage their symptoms and avoid harmful effects.
How can someone find a psychiatrist or ADHD doctor?
A qualified, licensed healthcare expert should be consulted when seeking an ADHD evaluation or therapy. Working with a professional who has dealt with this illness in the past is vital, as that expert can prescribe you the best ADHD medicine to treat this developing ADHD.
There are a few other ways to find an expert on ADHD:
- Get a recommendation from your primary care doctor for an expert or physician who can recognize and start ADHD treatment.
- Ask your health insurance company for a list of doctors or mental health professionals in your network specializing in such psychiatric disorders.
- Find local mental health professionals or physicians specializing in ADHD using internet directories like Psychology Today, ZocDoc, or Healthgrades.
- Ask if a specialist or physician is on staff at nearby mental health clinics or hospitals focusing on ADHD.
- For information on resources and suggestions for doctors diagnosing ADHD, contact national groups like CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADDitude Magazine.