Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD/ADD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder) often first shows up in childhood and can continue into adulthood. This condition can affect intellectual , social and psychological development. Although this condition often starts in childhood and hyperactivity may improve as the child becomes a teen, adolescents and adults can continue to experience inattention, poor organizations skills, and may have poor impulse control.

There are three recognized presentations:

  • Hyperactive-impulsive type: The child often fidgets, runs around or squirms when seating is expected, talks excessively, interrupts others, has trouble waiting their turn.
  • Inattentive type: The child often has trouble concentrating, becomes easily distracted, makes careless mistakes, has trouble completing tasks.
  • Combined type: The child has symptoms from both the Hyperactive Impulsive type and Inattentive type.

Diagnosis

There is no blood test to diagnose ADHD. Often teachers, doctors, and parents will notice these symptoms. A specialist will be able to confirm this diagnosis by taking into account a comprehensive history, acquiring third party observations, using behavior and symptom rating skills, and using extensive interview procedures. Often the child will be referred to neuropsychological testing as this will provide a brain function profile that can be helpful in attaining academic, testing and workplace accommodations.

Treatment

ADHD treatment can include medications, education and skills training, therapy, or a combination of treatments. Research shows that the most effective approach is to use a combination of these approaches. Medication helps normalize brain activity and is preferably prescribed and monitored by a specialist in psychiatric provider. These medications help reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity helping the child focus, work and learn. Medications used in ADHD can include: stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants. In recent times, there has been a controversy in popular culture on the use of medications to treat ADHD; however, medicines usually outweigh the risks in children over six and adolescents. Long term risks of ADHD especially if it is untreated can include: unemployment, relationship difficulties, substance abuse, and engaging in risky or criminal behavior.