Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder affecting adults & children. ADHD is usually first diagnosed in childhood, that is characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity. These symptoms usually occur together; however, one may occur without the other(s).
Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting), and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur at the moment without thought).
The 3 categories of symptoms of ADHD include the following:
Short attention span for age (difficulty sustaining attention)
Difficulty listening to others
Difficulty attending to details
Poor organizational skills for the age
Poor study skills for the age
Seems to be in constant motion; runs or climbs, at times with no apparent goal except motion
Has difficulty remaining in his/her seat even when it is expected
Fidgets with hands or squirms when in his or her seat; fidgeting excessively
Has difficulty engaging in quiet activities
Loses or forgets things repeatedly and often
Inability to stay on task; shifts from one task to another without bringing any to completion
Often interrupts others
Has difficulty waiting for his or her turn in school and/or social games
Tends to blurt out answers instead of waiting to be called upon
Takes frequent risks, and often without thinking before acting
There are three main types of ADHD, which differ according to the symptoms that present most commonly.
The three types are:
Combined presentation: This is the most common type of ADHD. The person will show impulsive and hyperactive behavior, as well as getting distracted easily and struggling to maintain attention.
Predominantly impulsive/hyperactive: This is the least common type. The person will show signs of hyperactivity and the need to move constantly, as well as displaying impulsive behavior. They do not show signs of getting distracted or inattention.
Predominantly inattentive: People with this type of ADHD do not exhibit signs of hyperactivity or impulsivity. Instead, the person will get distracted easily and find it difficult to pay attention.
Children younger than 6 years of age with ADHD, behavior therapy is an important first step. Parent education in behavior management gives parents the skills and strategies to help their children and has shown to work as well as medication for young children. Young children have more side effects of ADHD medications than older children.
School-age children and adolescents 6 years and older, it is recommended combining medication treatment with behavior therapy. Several types of behavioral therapies are effective, including:
These approaches are often most effective if they are used together, depending on the needs of the individual child and the family.