Everything You Need To Know About ADHD

What is ADHD?

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a mental health disorder. It can cause more than average level of hyperactivity and impulse behavior. Individuals with ADHD might also find it hard to focus their attention on a single activity or to sit still for an extended period.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes this diagnosis, and anyone, either a child or an adult, can have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What are the Symptoms of ADHD?

ADHD symptoms encompass a wide range of behaviors. Some of the common ones include:

  • Experiencing difficulty sitting still
  • Interrupting people while they are talking
  • Forgetting to complete tasks
  • Having trouble concentrating or focusing on a task

If a person experiences any or all of these symptoms, then they have ADHD. The symptoms a person would face depends on the type of ADHD they have. Consult a doctor to determine the need for treatment if you or your exhibit any signs of ADHD.

What are the different types of ADHD?

The APA has grouped the ADHD into three categories to make the diagnoses more consistent. These categories are:

Predominantly inattentive

People with this type of ADHD have a tough time focusing on a particular activity, finishing a task, and following instructions. This type of condition is most prevalent among girls with ADHD. Experts believe that many children with the inattentive type of ADHD may not get a proper diagnosis, as they don’t tend to disrupt the classroom.

Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type

People who have this kind of ADHD exhibit hyperactive and impulsive behavior. That can include interrupting people while they are talking, fidgeting, not being able to wait, etc. Though inattention is not that much of a concern with this type of ADHD, people who have it might still find it challenging to focus on a particular task.

Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type

As per the APA, this type of ADHD is the most common form of this condition. People with this condition experience the combined effects of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. That means they will find it difficult to pay attention and also have a tendency towards impulsive behavior.

The treatment depends on the type of ADHD a person has. It is also important to note that the kind of ADHD one has can also change over time, and so does the treatment.

What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?

The term ADD is not in use anymore. Attention deficit disorder or ADD is an outdated term used to describe the people who have a problem in payment attention but are not hyperactive. These symptoms of ADHD are known as the predominantly inattentive condition and now used in place of ADD.

ADHD is a more broad term that not only includes the Predominantly inattentive type of this condition but also the hyperactivity related to it. The name ADHD became official in May of 2019 when the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Doctors refer to this manual while making diagnoses from mental health conditions.

What is the cause of ADHD?

Though ADHD is ubiquitous, still the cause of this condition is mostly unknown. Researchers and doctors are not sure as to what causes this condition. Some consider that it might have neurological origins, and genetics may also play an important role.

Studies also indicate that a reduction in dopamine can also be a factor behind ADHD. It is a chemical that helps transmit the signals from one nerve to another and plays a vital role in triggering emotional movements and responses. People with ADHD have less gray matter volume, which controls the parts of the brain responsible for controlling

  • Muscles
  • Self-control
  • Speech
  • Decision-making

Research is still ongoing to find the potential causes of ADHD like smoking during pregnancy.

ADHD diagnosis

There is no single test to check if a person has ADHD. Doctors believe that only a single test is not enough to make an ADHD diagnosis. To make a proper diagnosis, a doctor will examine all the symptoms that a person exhibits for the previous six months.

The doctor will gather all the necessary information by talking to the patient and their family members (if required), and might also use a rating scale and checklist to review symptoms. They might even do a physical exam to check for other health problems.

If you think that you or your child might have ADHD, then consult a doctor about getting an evaluation. One can also talk to their child’s school counselor, as schools regularly assess children for problems that might affect their educational performance. To get the best for your child, provide the counselor or doctor with observations and notes about your child’s behavior.

If the doctor believes that these symptoms are of ADHD, then they may refer you to an ADHD specialist. As per the diagnosis, they might also suggest you make an appointment with a neurologist or psychiatrist.

What are the treatments for ADHD?

ADHD treatment usually includes medication, behavioral therapies, or both.

There are different types of therapy that include psychotherapy or talk therapy. When going through talk therapy, a person will discuss how ADHD affects their life and ways that can help manage it. Behavioral therapy is also helpful in teaching a person how to monitor and manage their behavior.

Medications are also beneficial for a person who has ADHD. These medicines work by affecting brain chemicals. Drugs help a person by enabling them to control their actions and impulses better.

ADHD medication

There are two types of medicines for the treatment of ADHD; these are stimulants and non-stimulants. Doctors mostly prescribe central nervous system stimulants for ADHD. It works by increasing the number of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine and dopamine. These types of drugs include amphetamine-based stimulants like Adderall and methylphenidate like Ritalin.

If stimulants fail to achieve the desired results, or if they cause some severe side effects, then the doctor might recommend a non-stimulant drug — these work by increasing the norepinephrine levels in the brain.

All the medications have some benefits and some side effects. You should work with your doctor to determine which one works best for you.

How does ADHD affect depression?

People with ADHD are more likely to have depression, as well. The rate of depression is five times higher in children with ADHD as compared to those who do not have this condition. Symptoms of depression are also present in upto 31% of adults who have ADHD.

The occurrence of both these conditions simultaneously can cause extreme problems, but there are treatments available for both these conditions. The procedures like talk therapy help treat both the states. Some of the antidepressants like bupropion can be useful in easing the symptoms of ADHD.

People should know that just because they have ADHD doesn’t guarantee that they will also get depressed, but the possibility is still there.

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