Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children. However, it’s not just kids who live with ADHD; an estimated eight to nine million adults in the United States (roughly 4.4%) are diagnosed with it. There are three different types of ADHD: Complete, Predominately Inattentive, and Hyperactive-Impulsive. Often the term “ADD” is used as a catchall for all three subtypes.
Three core characteristics are used to identify ADHD:
- Distractibility (unable to give sustained attention to a task)
- Impulsivity (unable to delay gratification)
- Hyperactivity (unable to be still - a physical restlessness)
Just because you experience these behaviors doesn’t mean you have ADHD. These must be sustained characteristics creating difficulty in at least two areas of life such as school, work, home, and relationships.
SYMPTOMS OF ADHD
Different people experience Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder in different ways. One-third of diagnosed individuals don’t experience any hyperactive behavior. Others struggle with distractibility symptoms.
- Fails to give attention to details
- Has difficulty paying attention during tasks or play
- Doesn’t appear to listen when spoken to directly
- Struggles with organizing tasks and activities
- Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Fails to follow through on instructions or complete tasks
- Loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or other tools needed for tasks
- Frequently forgetful in daily activities Hyperactivity Symptoms:
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
- Leaves seat when it’s expected for them to remain seated
- Runs around or climbs in inappropriate situations
- Has problems playing or working quietly
- Acts as if “driven by a motor,” and is often “on the go”
- Talks excessively Impulsivity Symptoms:
- Blurts out answers before questions are even completed
- Shows difficulty waiting their turn
- Interrupts or intrudes on others (interferes with conversations or games)
ADHD CAUSES AND TREATMENT
Evidence suggests ADHD runs in families, usually begins in childhood, and occurs more in boys than girls.
ADHD is a treatable illness. The most effective options are a combination of medication and counseling. A physician will typically prescribe a stimulant, which has proven effective for many people.
If you or a loved one relate to these symptoms, there are services in place to help you. Federal legislation recognizes ADHD as a disability; therefore, reasonable accommodations can be made in the workplace or school.
If you think you have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder:
✓ Schedule an appointment for a check-up with your primary care provider.
✓ Talk with your health care providers about treatment options.
✓ Adhere to medication and treatment regimens prescribed by your doctor.
✓ Ask your physician to suggest a professional specializing in ADHD.
✓ Seek out individual counseling or support groups.
KEEP IN MIND
You’re not alone, and help is available. Consider reaching out to your health care provider and engaging other counseling resources for guidance on next steps.
What steps will you take today to be well and live life more fully?