What is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
ADHD is a brain disorder that can affect people of all ages, but is most commonly diagnosed in children. In general, people with ADHD have trouble staying focused, can be impulsive, have difficulty controlling their behavior, and/or are overactive. ADHD can also resemble other conditions, so each diagnosis is made based on the individual child..
Research about ADHD continues and great strides toward fully understanding this disorder have already been made.
Where does ADHD come from?
There are many possible answers to this very common question. Some studies suggest genes are mainly involved, but there may be other reasons too. For example, brain injury, nutrition (sugar and food additives are all suspects), and environmental toxins (lead exposure, for one) at significant times in a person’s development can also lead to undesirable behavior or behavior changes.
What ADHD symptoms should I look for?
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has three main categories of behaviors – inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Examples of how each may show up are listed below, but remember that just because someone exhibits some of these behaviors doesn’t necessarily mean they have ADHD.
Switches between activities often
Difficulty focusing on one thing
Easily and quickly bored
Difficulty staying organized
Does not complete tasks/assignments
Appears not to listen, including when they are spoken to directly
Difficulty following instructions
- Fidgets and squirms
- Non-stop talking
- Touching or playing with everything in sight
- Constantly in motion
- Difficulty with quiet activities
- Does not sit still
- Blurts out inappropriate comments
- Shows emotion without trying to stop
- Acts without regard to consequences
- Difficulty taking turns or waiting for things
- Interrupts conversation
- Does not wait for people to finish speaking
How is ADHD treated?
Fortunately, ADHD has several treatment options, though none will “cure” a person of this disorder. Work with a medical professional to determine the best option or combination of options for your loved one.
- Behavior therapy
- Medications (stimulants)
- Social skills training
- Dietary management
What should I do next?
Here’s some good news: you’re already on the right track by looking for more information and the next steps aren’t all on you. Contact a licensed healthcare professional to determine how exactly to proceed. Most likely, the first step will be a medical examination to paint a clearer picture of what’s going on and to rule out other conditions and/or injuries. We can help, or you can reach out to the following people as well:
- Pediatrician or primary care physician
- Mental health specialist