ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD)
ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
People with symptoms of inattention may often:
- Overlook or miss details.
- Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play.
- Not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace.
- Have problems organizing tasks and activities.
- Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort.
- Lose things necessary for tasks or activities.
- Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli.
- Be forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls and keeping appointments.
People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:
- Fidget and squirm in their seats.
- Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected.
- Run or dash a round or climb in situations where it is inappropiate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless.
- Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly.
- Be constantly in motion or “on the go”, or act as if “driven by a motor”.
- Talk non stop.
- Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish others people's sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in conversation.
- Have trouble waiting his or her turn.
- Interrupt or intrude on others, for example in conversations, games or activities.
ADHD symptoms can appear as early as between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood.
Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems or missed entirely in quite, well-behaved children leading to a delay in diagnosis.
Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.
Treatments help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.
ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work and learn. Medication also improves physical coordination.
Stimulants works increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play essential roles in thinking and attention.
Non-stimulants like antidepressants take longer to start working than stimulants but can also improve focus, attention and impulsivity.
Antidepressants can be helpful in combination with stimulants if a patient also has another condition such as anxiety disorder, depression or another mood depression.
Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.
Behavioral therapy might involve practical assistance such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events.
Behavioral therapy also teaches a person how to:
- Monitor his or her own therapy.
- Give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way such as controlling anger or thinking before acting.