Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health disorders among children and young adults. It is characterized by difficulty paying attention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity. It can significantly impair a person’s ability to live a normal life, and can cause problems with relationships, behavior, and academic performance.

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

People with ADHD may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Inattentiveness: difficulty focusing on tasks, difficulty sustaining attention, easily getting distracted
  • Impulsivity: acting without considering consequences, difficulty waiting their turn, easily overwhelmed
  • Hyperactivity: restlessness, feeling fidgety, talking excessively
  • Disorganization: difficulty organizing tasks, difficulty planning ahead, difficulty following through with plans
  • Emotional instability: difficulty controlling emotions, mood swings, temper tantrums

Causes of ADHD

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, but there are several factors that may contribute to its development, including genetics, environmental factors, and brain chemistry. Research suggests that ADHD is in part caused by brain chemical imbalances, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

Diagnosis of ADHD

ADHD is usually diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. The diagnosis is based on a thorough evaluation that may include interviews with the patient as well as information from family members and teachers. Diagnosing ADHD in adults can be challenging, as many of the signs and symptoms are present in other psychiatric conditions or due to lifestyle choices.

Treatment of ADHD

The treatment of ADHD usually consists of a combination of medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and educational support. Medications are generally effective in reducing the symptoms associated with ADHD, while psychotherapy can help with developing skills to manage the disorder and associated emotions. Lifestyle modifications, such as getting regular exercise, avoiding sugar and processed foods, and getting proper sleep, can also help manage symptoms. Finally, educational and behavioral strategies can be used to help improve academic performance in those with ADHD.