What is ADHD?

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what is adhd

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a common disorder that can cause problems in school, at home and in relationships. Early identification and treatment can help individuals with ADHD to live more productive lives.

ADHD is usually diagnosed by a doctor, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. This involves a complete evaluation of your symptoms and may involve a series of tests.

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

If you think you might have ADHD, the first step is to talk with your health care provider. He or she will ask you about your symptoms and if you have other conditions that can explain them.

Most children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention or sustaining focus, especially in school and work environments. They also often have problems with hyperactivity or impulsivity, which are behaviors that can be distracting and disruptive to others.

Sometimes, a child has difficulties with behavior before they meet the criteria for ADHD, but this does not mean that they have ADHD. For example, a child who is constantly drowsy or tired or who has trouble staying focused on tasks at home may not have ADHD.

In adults, signs and symptoms of ADHD can also include problems with attention, executive function (the ability to plan, organize and carry out tasks), and working memory. Deficits in these areas can be difficult for individuals to manage, which can lead to difficulties with academic and career success.

It is common for people with ADHD to have problems with impulsivity and hyperactivity, which can be disruptive to relationships. These behaviors can be frustrating and cause embarrassment for the person who is acting impulsively or hyperactive.

Types of ADHD

Whether you have a child with ADHD or are an adult with the condition, it’s important to understand what the symptoms look like and how doctors diagnose it. Doctors have to gather information from the patient and their family or caregivers before they can make a diagnosis.

The first thing they look for is a history of the patient’s symptoms. Then, the doctor will perform a series of tests to observe the patient’s behavior and see how it affects their daily functioning.

One of the most common ADHD symptoms is hyperactivity. The child or adult may start jumping around or bouncing on their chair, running around in the classroom or in a meeting, or crashing into walls and furniture.

Another symptom is impulsivity. The individual may blurt out an answer to a question in the classroom before it’s finished, or they might retaliate immediately against someone who slights them on the playground.

There are also inattentive type ADHD symptoms, which affect the person’s ability to focus on what’s in front of them. They tend to misplace things, forget appointments or tasks, and struggle with completing tasks on time.

Causes of ADHD

ADHD is thought to be caused by an underdeveloped frontal lobe, a part of the brain that affects things like long-term memory and learning from mistakes. It also impacts planning, decision-making and the ability to change habits.

It can be difficult to determine if you have ADHD because symptoms may appear in other conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, substance use, head injuries, thyroid conditions, and certain medications (Austerman, 2015). However, it is possible to diagnose ADHD with a full psychiatric evaluation.

The diagnosis of ADHD is based on the number and severity of symptoms. Clinicians can designate the disorder as mild, moderate or severe.

Children with ADHD have difficulties focusing on tasks, remembering what they need to do and getting things done in a timely manner. They also have difficulty paying attention to others and may be easily distracted.

They have trouble completing tasks or remembering information at home, school or in social situations. They have difficulty waiting their turn and often interrupt or intrude on other people’s activities or conversations.

Some children and teens with ADHD take stimulant medicines to help control their symptoms. These drugs increase activity in the brain and may also cause a few side effects, such as eye blinking or throat clearing. They may also increase blood pressure or heart rate, which is usually minor and does not pose a health risk.

How is ADHD Diagnosed?

To diagnose ADHD, a doctor or mental health professional uses a variety of evaluations and tests. They also look for any other conditions that might be affecting your child’s behavior.

Children with ADHD often have other disorders that affect their ability to focus, such as anxiety, depression, tic disorders or Tourette syndrome, substance abuse or learning disabilities. If those other conditions aren’t treated, it can make ADHD symptoms worse.

Diagnosing ADHD in children requires a medical and social history of the child, as well as discussion with family members and teachers about the behaviors. The doctor will use the American Psychiatric Association’s guidelines for diagnosing ADHD and will rule out other possible causes of the behavior.

It can be hard to tell if you or your child has ADHD, but the sooner it’s diagnosed and treated, the better. Early diagnosis can help reduce stress and frustration from the disorder.

A diagnosis can also help reduce the shame, embarrassment and guilt that comes with being labeled as having ADHD. It can also help you find treatment options that are best for you or your child.

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If you think you or your child has ADHD, seek out a therapist or psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD treatment. They can help you get the care you need and connect you with support from their extensive network.

Treatsments for ADHD

There are a number of treatments for ADHD. These include medicine, behavior therapy and counseling. The combination of these treatments is often best, because they can help relieve symptoms and improve behavior.

Stimulant medications are the most common treatment for ADHD in children and adults. These drugs boost levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. They have been used safely for decades, and they work well for most people.

The most commonly prescribed stimulants are methylphenidates (brand names include Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin) and amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse).

Non-stimulants are also available. These take longer to start working and can have some side effects, such as drowsiness. These medications can be taken once or twice a day, depending on the drug.

Medication can be combined with psychotherapy, social skills training, and behavioral strategies. It is important to discuss these with your doctor.

In some cases, a child with ADHD may have other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression. These can affect how well the medication works or vice versa.

The combination of medication and psychotherapy is often the best treatment for kids with ADHD, especially if they are still children or adolescents. It is often helpful to start treatment as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made.

ADHD in Adults

ADHD can affect children and adults alike, and some people carry their symptoms into adulthood. But if you have been struggling all your life with ADHD symptoms, it’s a good idea to get help.

Most adults with ADHD benefit from medication and therapy. These treatments focus on changing negative thinking patterns and learning how to manage your ADHD. They can also include adapting to your environment and finding coping strategies to manage stress and emotions.

The most common type of medication used in treating ADHD is stimulants, which boost and balance levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Stimulants help you pay attention, be less impulsive and feel calmer.

However, there are many other medications that may work better for you. These can include nonstimulants like atomoxetine or antidepressants.

Mental health counseling and therapies can also help you deal with the symptoms of ADHD and other problems. These include marital counseling and family therapy, which can improve communication skills and help your loved ones understand how to support you.

Diagnosis of adult ADHD depends on a comprehensive clinical evaluation, which involves observation, patient history and questionnaires. It also requires that you have five or more symptoms of inattention and/or five or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity in two or more settings.

ADHD Medication

Medications for ADHD can help children and adults improve their ability to concentrate, control impulses, plan ahead and follow through on tasks. However, they don’t treat the underlying problem of ADHD, which is a deficiency in the brain chemical norepinephrine (noradrenaline).

Stimulants, such as methylphenidate or amphetamine, boost levels of this deficient neurotransmitter and can ease symptoms. They come in a range of forms and are used daily in many people.

Methylphenidate is available as a chewable tablet, liquid, or skin patch. Methylphenidate tablets usually contain 10 to 20 mg of methylphenidate per tablet. The methylphenidate patches also come in different strengths.

Long-acting stimulants last up to 12 hours and can be taken just once a day. These are the most popular type of ADHD medication because they’re easier to remember and take than short-acting versions.

Side effects of ADHD medications can include sleep problems, tics and loss of appetite. They’re mild and resolve quickly as the body adjusts to the medication.

Depending on your child’s needs, your healthcare provider may need to try several different types of medications and doses before he finds one that works best. It can take a few months to find the right medication and schedule for your child, so be patient!

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