Do You Know What Is ADHD?

The stigma of ADHD is real. So real, in fact, that some parents are reluctant to seek help for their children for fear they might have to carry around such a diagnosis.

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What Is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity ( an excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

An estimated 5 percent of children and 2.5 percent of adults have ADHD. ADHD is often first identified in school aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork. It can also affect adults. It is more common among boys than girls.

Common Symptoms of ADHD

Children with ADHD can have problems with inattention (being unable to concentrate), hyperactivity (always being ‘on the go’) and impulsivity (lack of self-control). When assessing ADHD, hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to be grouped together.

ADHD symptoms
Inattention symptoms Hyperactivity / impulsivity symptoms
  • Finds it hard to concentrate
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Does not seem to listen
  • Avoids difficult tasks
  • Becomes distracted easily
  • Is disorganised and forgetful
  • Does not follow through on instructions, can’t finish work
  • Tends to fidget or squirm
  • Gets up during class when not supposed to
  • Runs about or climbs in inappropriate situations
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Often interrupts others
  • Finds it hard to wait for a turn
  • Often ‘on the go’ or acts as if ‘driven by a motor’
  • Talks excessively
  • Blurts out answers before questions have been finished

Some children mostly have inattention symptoms, others primarily have hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms; however, most children have a mixture of both types. ADHD symptoms often emerge gradually over a period of many months.

Diagnosing ADHD

Sometimes a child’s teachers will be the ones to notice that something is wrong; in other cases, the situation concerns parents or caretakers before a child starts having problems at school. However, the diagnosis of ADHD should only be made by a professional with special training in this area — your GP will generally refer you and your child to a paediatrician (specialist in children’s health) or a child psychiatrist for a thorough assessment. Other professionals such as child psychologists may also be involved.

For a diagnosis of ADHD, a child must have had symptoms to an extent that causes significant problems for at least 6 months, and these must have started before the age of 7 years. The symptoms must be evident in at least 2 settings (such as home and school) — this ensures the child is not having issues just with a particular teacher. When assessing a child, doctors also take into account what’s appropriate for the child’s developmental level — for example, it’s normal for a preschooler to have a short attention span.

There is no single test for ADHD. Doctors have to rule out other disorders that might be causing the symptoms, such as hearing loss, learning disabilities, bipolar disorder or an overactive thyroid. To do this, the specialist will usually examine your child and ask you all about their medical and developmental history and current behaviour. The specialist will probably also ask for information from your child’s teachers.

As part of the diagnostic process, you will generally be asked to fill in questionnaires and specific rating scales concerning your child’s behaviour, and your child may need to undergo neuropsychological tests — a series of written and spoken questions. These can be time-consuming but they help give a fuller picture of your child’s mental state and development.

Is It ADHD? Use Our Checklist of Common Symptoms

Have you noticed signs of distractibility, hypersensitivity, or forgetfulness in you or your child? It could be ADHD. Use this checklist to understand common symptoms and test your own behaviour before seeking a diagnosis.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurological condition defined by a consistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive impulsivity that interferes with daily functioning in at least two settings – for example, at school and at home. It impacts children and adults, boys and girls, and people of all backgrounds.

ADHD symptoms often look different in children than they do in adults. But this is universal: If you recognize the signs in yourself or your loved one on the following ADHD Symptom Test, and the symptoms persistently disrupt life for at least 6 months, you may be dealing with ADHD. If you suspect that you have ADHD, contact your medical health-care professional for a diagnosis.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders checklist, at least six of the following ADHD symptoms must apply to merit a diagnosis:

Inattention

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions).
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Forgetful in daily activities.

ADHD Symptoms in Adults

At least six of the following signs of hyperactivity-impulsivity must apply:

Hyperactivity

  • Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
  • Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor.”
  • Talks excessively.

Impulsivity

    • Blurts out the answers before the questions have been completed.
    • Has difficulty awaiting turn.
    • Interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).
    • Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before age 7.
    • Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g., at school [or work] and at home).
    • There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
    • The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder or other psychotic disorder, and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder).

 

Symptoms of Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details
    (Examples: overlooking or missing details or handing in work that is inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks
    (Example: difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy readings)
  • Often seems to not listen when spoken to directly
    (Example: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction)
  • Often fails to follow through on instructions, chores, or duties in the workplace
    (Example: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    (Examples: messy, disorganized work; poor time management; fails to meet deadlines)
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort, like preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers 
  • Often loses things like tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and mobile phones
  • Often easily distracted by other things, including unrelated thoughts
  • Often forgetful in daily activities, such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments

 

Symptoms of Inattention

  • Often makes careless mistakes and lacks attention to details
    (Examples: overlooking or missing details or handing in work that is inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty paying attention to tasks
    (Example: difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy readings)
  • Often seems to not listen when spoken to directly
    (Example: mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of obvious distraction)
  • Often fails to follow through on instructions, chores, or duties in the workplace
    (Example: starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked)
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    (Examples: messy, disorganized work; poor time management; fails to meet deadlines)
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to participate in tasks requiring sustained mental effort, like preparing reports, completing forms, or reviewing lengthy papers 
  • Often loses things like tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and mobile phones
  • Often easily distracted by other things, including unrelated thoughts
  • Often forgetful in daily activities, such as running errands, returning calls, paying bills, and keeping appointments

The stigma of ADHD is real. So real, in fact, that some parents are reluctant to seek help for their children for fear they might have to carry around such a diagnosis. The stigma is so prevalent that it’s easy for it to be internalized by people with ADHD. Is it any wonder that nearly half of all children and adults with ADHD have some sort of co-morbid disorder like anxiety or depression?

There’s nothing shameful about having ADHD. It just means our brains work a little differently. Speaking out and ending the stigma is so important for them, for the 9 percent of school-age children and 4.4 percent of adults living with ADHD.

Celebrities with ADHD

Like the celebrities who didn’t let dyslexia prevent them from pursuing careers in Hollywood, big-name stars with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (also referred to as Attention Deficit Disorder) refuse to let the disability slow them down. ADHD is described as a “very common, chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.” In fact, there are over 3 million cases in the United States per year. Among the millions of people diagnosed with the disorder? Emma Watson, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears and many others.

  • Simone Biles

U.S. Olympic champion Simone Biles took to Twitter to let the world know she has ADHD.She recently opened up about the fact that she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and takes medication for it. As someone who was diagnosed with inattentive attention deficit disorder (ADD) at the age of 7 and has been taking medication for it ever since it made me extremely happy to see another young woman with ADHD speak openly about her diagnosis. However, this wasn’t just a big deal for me and Simone. This was a big deal for everyone with ADHD, and everyone who’s ever doubted its legitimacy as a condition or thought negatively of people who have i

  • Justin Timberlake

Some celebrities with ADHD say the condition has contributed to their success. Others say they’ve dealt with challenges. Grammy-winning singer and actor Timberlake says: “I have OCD mixed with ADD. You try living with that.”

  • Paris Hilton 

The heiress and TV personality say she’s had ADD since she was about 12. She told CNN’s Larry King that it doesn’t affect her career: “It’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life.”

  • Will Smith

Actor and singer once said, “that growing up, he was the fun one who had trouble paying attention”, and that today, he would’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. He also recalls having trouble reading—these days he follows along with books on tape.

  • Solange Knowles

When singer Solange Knowles (little sister to Beyonce—and mom to son Daniel) found out she had ADHD, she didn’t believe it was a disorder. But Knowles said onHealthCentral.com she has high energy and that “people think I’m high even when I’m sober.”

  • Emma Watson

Although she has never spoken about the diagnosis, Screen Junkies confirmed the Harry Potter actress was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and has taken medication for it throughout her career.

  • Britney Spears

Britney’s struggle with ADHD apparently started when she was a child, but the world didn’t know about it until she began as a judge on The X-Factor in 2012. According to Radar, Britney “was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in her teens” and had to take multiple breaks during the show’s audition process because of it.

 

Recommended websites for treatment

 http://www.myadhd.com/treatmentsforadhd.html

 

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