English 4 MIN READ 267 VIEWS May 12, 2024

Understanding ADHD: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options 

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, affects millions worldwide, yet it remains widely misunderstood. With ADHD symptoms ranging from inattention to impulsivity, navigating the complexities of it can be challenging. This comprehensive guide delves into the symptoms, diagnosis and various treatment options available for managing this neurodevelopmental disorder. 

Whether you’re seeking clarity on common ADHD symptoms and treatment or exploring its causes and early signs, join us as we unravel the mysteries of ADHD.

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common and most studied neurodevelopmental disorders (nerve-related) in children and some individuals, it may continue into adulthood.  Researchers have found that patients with ADHD disorder have differences in brains, neural networks, and activity of neurotransmitters.

ADHD syndrome is a long-term (chronic) brain disorder that impairs a person’s capacity to control emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. People with ADHD find it challenging to:

  • Control their behaviour
  • Control overactivity
  • Regulate their mood
  • Stay organised
  • Concentrate
  • Follow instructions
  • Sit still 

Children are typically diagnosed with it in their early years, and the condition frequently persists until adulthood. 

ADHD Symptoms 

The diagnosis your child’s doctor makes depends on specific symptoms. The symptoms must persist for at least the previous six months and impact functioning in at least two domains of life (such as home and school).

Medical professionals can use the symptoms and signs of ADHD to diagnose and classify the disorder as inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, mixed, or undefined.

Signs and Symptoms of Predominantly Inattentive Presentation

  • Difficulty focusing on details or making careless mistakes.
  • Problems keeping tasks and activities in focus.
  • Difficulty paying attention, daydreaming, or projecting distraction.
  • Difficulty adhering to instructions or completing duties.
  • Difficulty planning out activities and tasks.
  • Staying away from or not enjoying activities that need constant mental effort.
  • Constantly losing things.
  • Easily distracted by stimuli from outside the body.
  • Ignorant throughout routine tasks.

Signs and Symptoms of Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Presentation

  • Constantly wiggling or fidgeting, tapping hands or feet.
  • Getting up from their seat while staying seated is expected.
  • Running or climbing in inappropriate situations.
  • Difficulty playing or doing leisure activities in silence.
  • Constantly appearing to be “driven by a motor” or “on the go.”
  • Talking excessively.
  • Answers are blurted out before the questions are finished.
  • Constant issues while waiting for their turn.
  • Often intervening or obstructing other people’s games or conversations.

Individuals with mixed ADHD types exhibit traits associated with both hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive behaviours.

Causes of ADHD

Although the exact cause(s) and risk factors of ADHD are unknown, recent studies have indicated a significant genetic component. Recent research links it to hereditary causes.

Scientists are researching additional potential causes and risk factors outside genetics, such as:

  • Brain damage
  • Exposure to environmental hazards during the early days or pregnancy
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy
  • Early birth or premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

Complications of ADHD

If left untreated, ADHD syndrome may result in a variety of long-term problems. The following issues could be among these complications: 

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Eating disorders 
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Substance use disorders 
  • Impulsive, dangerous behaviour
  • Recurrent car accidents resulting in injuries
  • Difficulties in forming relationships and interacting with others
  • Below-average academic performance
  • Unstable employment

ADHD Diagnosis and Tests

The first thing to do if you’re concerned that your child might have ADHD disorder is to schedule an appointment with a paediatrician. They use a set of guidelines to determine whether your child has ADHD. There isn’t an ADHD test that can help diagnose it. To assist them in ADHD diagnosis, physicians perform several assessments and compile a substantial amount of data. Multiple observers of the behaviours linked to ADHD in different settings, including the family and school, are crucial.

Based on this reported data, the doctor assesses how your child behaves in relation to other kids of their age. Following an assessment of your child’s symptoms, they can provide a personalised treatment and the type of ADHD it is.

ADHD Treatments and Precautions

While there is no ADHD cure, there are ways to support every kid to feel and perform their best both at home and school. The purpose of treating ADHD in children is to lessen ADHD symptoms so they can perform better everywhere. Before using medication, healthcare professionals advise parents to get involved with their younger children (ages 4 and 5).

For older kids, teens, and adults, behavioural therapy and medication are typically combined to provide the optimal ADHD treatments like:

  1. Behavioural Therapy

Providers advise parents to receive behaviour management training for children under 13. Other forms of behavioural therapy and training, such as social skills or executive function training are advised for teenagers. Behavioural therapy aims to eliminate unwanted or problematic behaviours while teaching and strengthening beneficial behaviours. Developing executive function training seeks to enhance self-monitoring and organising abilities.

  1. Medication

People with ADHD disorder can control their symptoms and the behaviours that cause problems for them with friends, family, and other connections with the use of medication, which includes antidepressants, stimulants, and non-stimulants.

Conclusion

The prognosis, or long-term outlook, for ADHD depends upon whether or not your child has been given suitable treatment. Most kids who receive behaviour therapy and medication go on to lead healthy lives. Although it is a condition that never goes away, some adults with ADHD disorder may not fit the diagnostic criteria because they have developed effective symptom management skills. Many people learn how to control it so that their ADHD symptoms don’t interfere with their daily activities and they can live happy and meaningful lives.

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