ADHD: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD affects an estimated 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults in the United States. While there is no cure for ADHD, there are ways to manage the symptoms. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Stimulant medications are often prescribed to help with focus, while non-stimulant medications can be used to treat impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Behavioral therapy can teach children and adults with ADHD how to better deal with the symptoms. In some cases, accommodations at school or work can also be helpful. With proper treatment, people with ADHD can lead successful and rewarding lives.
Anyone who has ever tried to pay attention to a task for an extended period of time knows how difficult it can be. For people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this difficulty is an everyday reality that can have a major impact on their lives. ADHD is marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. People with ADHD experience an ongoing pattern of the following types of symptoms:
Inattention is one of the main symptoms of ADHD, and it can have a profound impact on a person’s life. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with ADHD are more likely to have difficulty finishing tasks, paying attention to details, and following instructions. They may also be easily distracted, forgetful, and impulsive. As a result, people with ADHD may struggle in school or at work, and they may find it difficult to maintain relationships. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to problems with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
One of the most noticeable symptoms of ADHD is hyperactivity. This can manifest itself in fidgeting, restlessness, and an inability to sit still for long periods of time. Hyperactivity can make it difficult to concentrate on tasks or to participate in quiet activities, such as reading or listening to music. It can also lead to impulsiveness, which can manifest itself in impulsive behavior, such as interrupting others or speaking without thinking. While hyperactivity and impulsiveness can be disruptive, they are also often seen as signs of creativity and energy. With proper support and management, people with ADHD can learn to channel their hyperactivity into productive activities and lead successful lives.
Being impulsive is more than just acting on a whim. It’s a pattern of behavior that’s characterized by a lack of planning and an inability to curb your impulses. For people with ADHD, impulsivity is one of the main symptoms. This can lead to difficulties in both personal and professional life. Impulsiveness can make it hard to stick to commitments, finish tasks, or think before speaking. It can also lead to risky behaviors, like speeding or drug use. The good news is that impulsivity is a symptom that can be managed with treatment. Therapy and medication can help people with ADHD learn how to control their impulses and make better decisions.
These symptoms can make it hard for people with ADHD to sit still, concentrate, and control their impulses. As a result, they may have difficulty completing tasks, keeping friends, or succeeding in school. Although there is no cure for ADHD, there are treatments that can help people manage their symptoms and live productive lives.
Although the exact cause of ADHD remains unknown, research suggests that genes play a major role. ADHD is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies are currently underway to determine how brain injuries, nutrition, and social environments might contribute to the development of ADHD. In addition, researchers are examining whether certain environmental factors might increase the risk of developing ADHD. So far, ADHD appears to be more common in males than females. Females with ADHD tend to primarily have inattention symptoms. People with ADHD often have other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and substance use disorder.
Treatment and Therapies
ADHD is a complex condition that can affect people in different ways. Currently available treatments may improve symptoms and functioning. Treatments for ADHD include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments. Medication can help to reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Psychotherapy can help people to learn coping and problem-solving skills. Education or training can help people with ADHD to develop organizational skills and to learn how to better manage time and responsibilities. A combination of treatments is often the most effective. Working with a qualified mental health professional can help people with ADHD to find the treatment plan that works best for them.
For many people with ADHD, medications can be incredibly helpful in managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin are often prescribed, as they can help to reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve focus and concentration. However, it is important to note that not everyone responds to these medications in the same way, and it may take some trial and error to find the right medication or dosage for a particular person. Additionally, anyone taking ADHD medication must be monitored closely by their prescribing doctor, as there is always the potential for side effects. However, for many people with ADHD, the benefits of medication far outweigh any risks.
Psychotherapy and Psychosocial Interventions
Parents of children with ADHD often face a challenging road ahead. In addition to managing their own stress and frustration, they must also help their child to cope with a condition that can make everyday tasks seem insurmountable. However, there is hope. Several specific psychosocial interventions have been shown to help individuals with ADHD and their families manage symptoms and improve everyday functioning. These interventions include Behavior Therapy, Psychoeducation, and Family Therapy. Each of these approaches has been proven to be effective in helping families to navigate the challenges of ADHD. With the right support, parents can help their children to thrive despite the challenges of ADHD.
It’s important to get the help you need if you think a family member might have ADHD. For school age children an proper diagnosis is key. A professional can give you an accurate diagnosis and advise you on next steps. Please call Dr. Judith L. Friedman our Lead Neuropsychologist at (818) 324-3800.