The Basics of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by a prolonged pattern of inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity that usually impairs normal development and functioning. Children with ADHD have trouble learning in school. Because it is hard for them to pay attention or calm their hyperactivity and impulsivity.

What describes a child with ADHD?

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have the following characteristics:

  • Inattention. It is a tendency that an individual experiences difficulty in finishing a task due to the lack of focus, being disorganized, lack of persistence, and lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity. It is a tendency wherein a person tends to move constantly from one place to another inappropriately. It also involves excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talking. A hyperactive person is almost always restless and wants constant activity.
  • Impulsivity. This is a tendency wherein an individual may act on something instantly without thinking and considering the consequences. S/he may also demand immediate reward and hates any gratification delay.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not only found among children. Thus, ADHD is not just a childhood disorder. Although the signs of ADHD are mostly found among children, it may continue through adolescence and early adulthood.

The long-term outcomes for children with ADHD may considerably vary. Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are at risk for antisocial personality disorder, anxiety disorders, marital and relationship problems, substance abuse, social defiance, and inability to stay in one job.

Symptoms and signs of ADHD

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are commonly inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. These behaviors are the most common symptoms of ADHD. However, among children, the most common symptom is hyperactivity.

Having some inattention, or inability to focus on the task at hand, or being impulsive sometimes is normal. However, these behaviors are severe, more often, and interfere with the daily functioning of people with ADHD.

People with severe inattention may:

  • Carelessly make mistakes due to the inability to focus on the activities
  • Be unable to listen to instructions
  • Find difficulty in bringing the task done
  • Have difficulty in organizing things that are necessary for the task
  • Avoid difficult tasks
  • Be messy
  • Get distracted easily
  • Be negligible
  • Be unable to meet deadlines

People with severe hyperactivity/impulsivity may:

  • Be unable to wait for his or her turn
  • Find difficulty in staying in one place
  • Be always on the go
  • Make unnecessary interruption in conversations
  • Be restless
  • Be unable to make his/her own task

Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in both children and adults can be difficult. It requires an expert to make a sound diagnosis.

A person can be diagnosed with ADHD when:

  • Symptoms of inattention/hyperactivity-impulsivity are chronic
  • The symptoms impair a person’s functioning
  • The symptoms make a person left behind by his/her counterparts

ADHD diagnosis requires an assurance that the symptoms are not due to other psychiatric conditions. Lastly, the symptoms of ADHD must already present prior to 12 years old.

Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Like other mental disorders, experts are not so sure what causes ADHD. But most scientists believe that this disorder is probably the result of different risk factors. In most cases, head/brain injuries, alcohol drinking, substance abuse during pregnancy, exposure to toxic substances, and genes are common factors.

Treatment of ADHD

Although there is no certain effective treatment for ADHD, the combination of medication, psychotherapy, educational training are found to be helpful.

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