Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Get evaluated for
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
What to expect
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and adults. ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Children with ADHD may also struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms. But they can learn strategies to be successful.
While treatment won’t cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.
A diagnostic assessment for ADHD involves three main parts: gathering a clinical history through an
interview with your provider, an objective measurement of symptoms remotely, and the completion
of one or more rating scales.
More about ADHD
An estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD (Danielson, 2018; Simon, et al., 2009). ADHD is often first identified in school-aged children when it leads to disruption in the classroom or problems with schoolwork. It is more commonly diagnosed among boys than girls given differences in how the symptoms present. However, this does not mean that boys are more likely to have ADHD. Boys tend to present with hyperactivity and other externalizing symptoms whereas girls tend to have inactivity.
The Causes of ADHD
The exact causes of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) are complex and multifaceted. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development. Genetic predisposition plays a significant role, as ADHD tends to run in families. Neurobiological differences, including imbalances in neurotransmitter activity and brain structure, are thought to underlie the disorder. Environmental factors such as prenatal tobacco or alcohol exposure, premature birth, and early brain injury might increase the risk. Additionally, certain psychosocial factors and high-stress environments can exacerbate symptoms. While the precise interplay of these factors is not fully understood, ongoing research aims to provide deeper insights into the origins of ADHD.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Many children may have difficulties sitting still, waiting their turn, paying attention, being fidgety, and acting impulsively. However, children who meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD, differ in that their symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, organization, and/or inattention are noticeably greater than expected for their age or developmental level. These symptoms lead to significant suffering and cause problems at home, at school or work, and in relationships. The observed symptoms are not the result of an individual being defiant or not being able to understand tasks or instructions.
There are three main types of ADHD: Inattentive, Hyperactive/impulsive and Combined presentation.
Difficulties in sustaining attention, staying organized, and completing tasks. Individuals with this type might struggle to focus on details, frequently overlook instructions, and have trouble following through on responsibilities. They often appear forgetful, disorganized, and easily distracted. While hyperactivity isn’t prominent, internal restlessness can persist. Inattentive ADHD can affect various aspects of life, from education to work and relationships. Early diagnosis and tailored interventions, including behavioral strategies and, if necessary, medication, can significantly enhance a person’s ability to manage their symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life.
Heightened levels of physical restlessness and impulsive behavior. Individuals with this type often struggle with sitting still, fidget excessively, and interrupt others frequently. They might act without thinking about consequences and find it challenging to wait their turn. Planning and organization can be difficult, leading to impulsive decisions. While attention difficulties may be present, the core features revolve around impulsivity and hyperactivity. Early diagnosis and targeted interventions, including behavioral strategies and, if appropriate, medication, can significantly enhance a person’s capacity to manage symptoms and improve their daily functioning and interactions.
Exhibit a blend of symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive categories. They struggle with focus, organization, and impulsivity. Restlessness and hyperactivity are present, along with impulsive decision-making and difficulty maintaining attention. This type often has a broad impact on various aspects of life, from academic and occupational pursuits to social interactions. Timely diagnosis and personalized interventions, which can encompass behavioral strategies and medication if required, play a crucial role in helping individuals effectively manage symptoms and enhance their overall quality of life.