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Guide to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Signs, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
When we hear the term ADHD, we may paint a picture of a stereotypically hyperactive child. A child who is forgetful, impatient, and disruptive. Although we may be partially correct in assuming those signs, there is a lot more to the condition. So let's explore what ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) exactly is!
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and disruptive behaviors. Children between 6 and 12 are more likely to be affected by ADHD.
They tend to have difficulty in staying focused, paying attention, remembering details, following instructions, staying organized, and controlling impulses. Children even have trouble constraining their spontaneous responses, responses that involve everything from movement to speech.
How common is ADHD in India?
Around 2-7% of children are affected by ADHD globally. In India, the prevalence of this condition is much higher than the global average. Researchers discovered that the prevalence of ADHD is higher than the global estimate at approximately 11.32% with children between the age range of 9-10 being the majority. Further, studies depicted that around 10 million children are diagnosed with ADHD annually with 66.7% of them identifying as males.
Such findings only add to the importance of seeking early diagnosis and intervention. It is the only solution to coping with and overcoming the obstacles presented by ADHD.
What are the types of ADHD?
Now, although ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness, there are four main types that you should know about. A few children may have one of these, while some may have two.
Here's a quick overview of all four types:
Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
Children diagnosed with this type tend to have inattentiveness as the prominent symptom. They tend to lack a careful approach to any task as they are unable to concentrate, follow detailed instructions, organizing tasks or activities. Due to poor concentration, they often lose out on things, are quite forgetful, and can get easily distracted by external stimuli.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
Hyperactivity and impulsivity are the defining features of this type. These children are constantly restless and fidgety. Signs like constantly interrupting others, blurting out random answers, and having little or no self-control over their verbalizations are commonly seen. Compared to the other types, this form of ADHD is the least common and tends to affect younger children.
It’s the most common type of ADHD and children diagnosed with this type show signs of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.
Children falling under this type tend to show severe impairments without meeting the official criteria of ADHD.
ADD vs ADHD
Previously the inattentive type of ADHD was referred to as ADD or Attention- Deficit Disorder. However, with changes made by the American Psychiatric Association, the term ADD has been replaced by ADHD. Regardless of the presence of hyperactivity, professionals consider ADHD as the official term for diagnosis.
Hence the only difference between the two other than the fact that ADD is an obsolete term is that ADD is defined by inattentiveness whereas ADHD encompasses hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.
What are the Signs and symptoms of ADHD?
Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD in children, irrespective of their age include:
- Lack of attention and forgetfulness
- Excessive talking
- Interrupting others while talking
- Feeling of frustration
- Drastic mood swings
What causes ADHD?
Though the exact reason is still unknown, your child could be at higher risk of ADHD due to a combination of the following factors:
ADHD has a genetic component and thus it’s believed that if your parents suffer from ADHD, the chances of being diagnosed with this disorder are at least four times higher. In certain cases, it’s more likely to happen in twins, while in siblings, the chances are lower.
Studies claim that people diagnosed with ADHD often have a neurological imbalance and a considerable shortage of neurotransmitters impacting their attention levels. Further brain injuries could also lead to the symptoms of ADHD.
Exposure to Environmental Risks
For children, being exposed to alcohol, drugs, or radiation, increases the chances of developing ADHD. Low birth weight and the development of infectious diseases affecting the brain tissues are other factors that can also lead to ADHD disorder in kids as it affects the way the brain transmits the signals.
How is ADHD diagnosed?
Consulting a pediatrician or other experts is the first step toward the understanding of ADHD. The expert will conduct tests and assess the functioning of your child to determine if they can be diagnosed with ADHD or not. During this process, they will also compare the child’s behavior to those of the same age range.
Finally, they will confirm the information acquired with the guideline presented by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to arrive at a diagnosis for ADHD.
Whom does ADHD affect?
ADHD is typically diagnosed in boys, however, this does not indicate that boys have a higher chance of developing the condition. Regardless of gender, the effect of ADHD seems to be uniform which is that it impacts both the child and their family.
It is common to experience difficulties associated with managing daily activities, academics, occupational responsibilities, and more. This is true especially if the condition is left untreated. Further, when the condition is left untreated it can impair the future of the child as well. Several complications arise including self-esteem issues, other mental disorders, sleep disturbances, and frequent accidents or injuries.
What to expect if I have ADHD?
Before assuming that you may have ADHD it is important to confirm the condition with a diagnosis provided by an expert. Keeping this in mind, there are a few things that can be expected as a result of ADHD, especially if you delay treatment. These include-
- Difficulties managing day-to-day activities
- Mental health disorders (anxiety and depression)
- Substance use disorders
- A decline in academic performance
- Job instability
- Interpersonal issues
How to find a doctor or treatment facility for ADHD?
Finding the right doctor or treatment facility can go a long way in coping with the symptoms of ADHD. With mental health applications, clinics, and referrals from general physicians you can find a credible expert. Switching between professionals till you find the right fit is also normal.
If you or your loved one experience the symptoms for at least 6 months, or suspect that you have ADHD, reach out to our psychiatrist, or a psychologist for treatment because early intervention may enhance the quality of life.
Cadabams, a renowned mental health care provider, has been dedicated to delivering exceptional services for more than 30 years. Our team of experts, well-versed in the most advanced treatment approaches, is committed to designing personalized and comprehensive treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. Our goal is to not only address your symptoms but also enhance your overall well-being, ensuring a holistic and effective approach to your mental health.
Do I have ADHD?
Some of the symptoms that are indicative of ADHD include-
- Frequently daydreaming
- Forgetting or losing things
- Talking excessively
- Making careless mistakes
- Interrupting others
If you can relate to the symptoms, seeking early diagnosis and treatment from a professional is highly recommended.
What is the complication associated with ADHD?
According to our experts the complications of ADHD include-
- Academic difficulties
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty socializing
- Increased risk of alcohol/drug use
Can ADHD be cured?
Although there is no permanent cure for ADHD, a combination of psychotherapy and medications can go a long way in improving the symptoms. For younger children between the ages of 4 to 5 psychotherapy is considered to be the first line of treatment before medications.
Is ADHD genetic?
One of the causes of ADHD is genetics. It can run in families where if your siblings or parents are diagnosed with ADHD there is a higher chance of you being diagnosed with the same.
Can ADHD be prevented?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that cannot be prevented. However early diagnosis and intervention can help lessen the symptoms and optimize functioning.
What are the advantages of having ADHD?
The advantages of having ADHD may include being
- Good conversationalist
What are the 3 signs of ADHD?
The three signs of ADHD include:
Can a person with ADHD have a normal life?
Despite the obstacles an individual with ADHD may experience, with the right care and treatment living a fully functional life is possible.
Is ADHD a mental health issue?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder, which causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and disruptive behaviors. It is typically observed in children and can be effectively managed with early diagnosis and intervention.
Is ADHD a serious problem?
If left undiagnosed or untreated, the symptoms of ADHD can severly impair an individual’s overall functioning. This is why experts recommend seeking early intervention and care as it can go a long way in improving an individual’s overall wellbeing.