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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Verified By Apollo Neurologist October 30, 2021 3229 0
_Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
_Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder that negatively affects millions of children and adolescents’ social interaction capabilities and often lasts into adulthood. ADHD is characterized by a number of persistent difficulties, including difficulty in focusing, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior.

Low self-esteem, strained relationships, and poor academic achievements are all common effects of this condition in children While symptoms tend to decrease on reaching adulthood, in certain cases, patients never fully recover from the symptoms of ADHD. However, major effects of this disorder can be managed through a combination of medication and therapy.

While medication will not fully treat ADHD, it will help to reduce the effects of its symptoms. Early detection and treatment can make a big difference in the outcome.

Causes of ADHD

Scientists are yet to fully understand the cause(s) and risk factors associated with ADHD .Despite the fact that the causes and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, new research suggests that inheritance has a substantial impact. In recent investigations, genetic factors have been associated to ADHD.

Aside from genetics, scientists are looking into other probable causes and risk factors, such as:

  • Injuries to the brain
  • Environmental (e.g., lead) exposure during pregnancy or at a young age.
  • Drinking and smoking in pregnancy
  • Premature childbirth
  • Low Birth weight

ADHD is not caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or societal and environmental issues including as poverty or family dysfunction, according to research. Of course, many things, including these, might exacerbate symptoms, particularly in some people. However, there is insufficient evidence to infer that they are the primary causes of ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD

At some point in their life, most youngsters will have difficulties focusing and behaving. Children with ADHD on the other hand, do not simply grow out of their behaviours. The symptoms might last for weeks or months, causing difficulty at school, at home, and with friends.

A child with may exhibit the following behaviors

  • A lot of daydreaming
  • Things can be forgotten or lost.
  • Many people squirm or fidget excessively, make sloppy errors, or take unwarranted risks.
  • Have difficulty avoiding temptation
  • Have difficulty taking turns
  • Having a hard time getting along with other people

For youngsters with ADHD, life can be difficult

  • Frequently struggle in class, which can lead to academic failure and criticism from peers and adults.
  • Children with ADHD are more likely to be involved in many types of accidents and injuries than children who do not have ADHD.
  • Possess a low sense of self-worth.
  • Are more likely to have difficulty communicating with classmates and adults, as well as being accepted by them.
  • Are at a higher risk of alcohol and drug misuse, as well as other forms of delinquency.

Differences in ADHD Symptoms by Gender

Having trouble focusing, sitting still, and remaining organized are common symptoms of ADHD. Many children show signs of this condition before they reach the age of seven, while some go undetected until they reach adulthood. The way the illness appears in men and women differs significantly. This may have an impact on how ADHD is identified and diagnosed.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, men are three times more likely than women to be diagnosed with ADHD. This gap isn’t always due to women’s lower susceptibility to the illness. It’s more than likely due to the fact that women’s ADHD symptoms differ from men. The symptoms are frequently milder, making them more difficult to detect.

ADHD in Adults

ADHD is a condition that can endure well into adulthood. Some adults have never been diagnosed with ADHD. The signs and symptoms might cause problems at work, at home, and in relationships. At an older age, symptoms may show up differently; for example, hyperactivity may manifest as excessive restlessness. Symptoms can grow more severe as the demands of adulthood increase.

ADHD in Women

Women with ADHD are more likely to exhibit inattention as a  symptom, whereas men are more likely to exhibit hyperactive symptoms. Because the youngster can’t sit still and behaves in an impulsive or risky manner, hyperactive behaviours are obvious to spot at home and in the classroom. The signs of inattention are typically more subtle. The child will not be disruptive in class, but he or she will forget assignments, be forgetful, or appear “spaced out.” It’s easy to confuse this with laziness or a learning deficiency.

Because women with ADHD don’t normally exhibit “typical” ADHD behavior, the symptoms may be less visible than in men. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • concern over low self-esteem
  • intellectual disability
  • academic achievement challenges
  • inattention or a proclivity to “daydream”
  • mocking, taunting, or name-calling verbal hostility

ADHD in Men

Though ADHD is more commonly misdiagnosed in women, it can also go undiagnosed in men. Men with ADHD report more hyperactivity and impulsiveness  than women, according to sources. However, assuming that all men with ADHD are hyperactive or impulsive is a mistake. Some men exhibit the disorder’s inattentive characteristics. Because they are not physically disruptive, they may not be diagnosed.

Men with ADHD are more likely to exhibit the symptoms that most people associate with ADHD. They are as follows:

  • hyperactivity, such as running and hitting
  • loss of focus, including inattentiveness
  • inability to sit still
  • physical aggression
  • Frequently disrupting other people’s conversations and activities with excessive talking

ADHD in Children

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), often known as attention deficit disorder or ADD, is characterised by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. For a child with ADHD, forgetting homework, daydreaming in class, acting without thinking, and fidgeting at the dinner table are all too common occurrences.

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disease that usually manifests in early infancy, before the age of seven. Children with ADHD have a hard time controlling their spontaneous responses, which might range from movement to speech to concentration.

Inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behaviour are two of the most common symptoms of ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD develop before the age of twelve, and in some children as young as three. Symptoms of ADHD can be minor to severe, and they can linger well into adulthood.

Males are more likely than females to have ADHD, and boy and girl behaviors can differ. Boys, for example, may be more hyperactive, while girls may be more inattentive.

ADHD is divided into three subtypes:

  • Inattentive- The bulk of symptoms are caused by a lack of attention.
  • Hyperactive and impetuous in nature- The majority of the symptoms are impulsive and hyperactive.
  • Combined- This symptom is a combination of inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

Diagnosis of ADHD

In general, a kid shouldn’t be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) until the fundamental symptoms of the illness appear early in life — before the age of 12 — and continue to cause major issues at home and at school.

Although there is no specific test for ADHD, the following factors are likely to be considered when making a diagnosis:

  • A medical examination will be performed to rule out any other probable reasons of your symptoms.
  • Gathering information on any current medical conditions, personal and family medical histories, and school records
  • Interviews or questionnaires for family members, teachers, and others who are familiar with your child, such as careers, babysitters, and coaches
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5, issued by the American Psychiatric Association, has ADHD criteria.
  • Use of Scales for collecting and evaluating information on your child with ADHD

ADHD in young children: Diagnosis

Although symptoms of ADHD can occur in preschoolers or even younger children, diagnosing the illness in these children is difficult. This is because developmental difficulties such as language delays can be misinterpreted as ADHD.

As a result, children in preschool or younger should be evaluated by a specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, a speech pathologist, or a developmental paediatrician.

Treatment of ADHD

In most cases, the most effective treatment for ADHD is a mix of behaviour therapy and medication. Before considering medication, behaviour therapy, particularly parent training, is recommended as the first line of treatment for preschool-aged children (ages 4-5) with ADHD. It is possible that what works best for each  child and family will differ. Good treatment regimens include close monitoring, follow-ups, and making changes as needed.

Medications that stimulate the brain

Stimulant medicines (psychostimulants) are currently the most widely used ADHD medications. Stimulants appear to increase and balance the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. These drugs can assist with the signs and symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity – and in certain cases, they can do it quickly.

Here are several examples:

  • Amphetamines- Dextroamphetamine , dextroamphetamine-amphetamine, and lisdexamfetamine are examples of these substances .
  • Methylphenidates- Methylphenidate and dexmethylphenidate .
  • Short-acting and long-acting stimulant medications- There is a long-acting methylphenidate patch  that can be worn on the hip.

It may take some time to discover the optimum dose because it differs from child to child. If your kid develops substantial side effects, the dose may need to be changed. Inquire with your doctor about stimulant side effects.

Other prescription drugs

Other drugs that may help with ADHD treatment include:

  • Atomoxetine is a drug that is used to treat a variety
  • Bupropion , Guanfacine , and clonidine are antidepressants

Antidepressants and Atomoxetine function more slowly than stimulants and can take several weeks to fully take effect. If your child is unable to take stimulants due to health issues or if stimulants create severe adverse effects, these may be viable alternatives.

Therapeutic behavior treatment for ADHD

A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other mental health professionals can give behavior treatment, social skills training, parent skills training, and counselling to children with ADHD. Other illnesses, such as anxiety disorder or depression, may coexist with ADHD in some children. Counseling may improve both the ADHD and the comorbid issue in these circumstances.

Here are some examples of therapy:

  • Behavioral therapy- It is a treatment that involves changing one’s behaviour . Teachers and parents can learn behavior-changing tactics for dealing with tough situations, such as token reward systems and timeouts.
  • Training in social skills- This can aid in the development of proper social behavior in children.
  • Parenting classes are available. This can assist parents in better understanding and guiding their children’s conduct.
  • Psychotherapy– This allows older children with ADHD to talk about their problems, look into harmful behaviour patterns, and learn how to manage their symptoms.
  • Therapy for the whole family- Parents and siblings can benefit from family counselling to cope with the stress of living with someone who has ADHD.

The best results are achieved when teachers, parents, therapists, and medics work together as a team. Learn about ADHD and the services that are available to you. Work with your child’s instructors to support their efforts in the classroom by referring them to credible sources of knowledge.

Conditions that coexist with ADHD

ADHD is not linked to any other psychological or developmental issues. Children with ADHD, on the other hand, are more likely than others to suffer from conditions such as:

  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a pattern of negative, rebellious, and aggressive behavior toward authority figures, as defined by the American Psychological Association.
  • Stealing, fighting, destroying property, and injuring people or animals are all examples of conduct disorder.
  • Irritability and difficulty tolerating frustration are symptoms of this mood dysregulation disease.
  • Reading, writing, understanding, and communicating issues are all examples of learning disabilities.
  • Drug, alcohol, and smoking addictions are all examples of substance use disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, can cause excessive concern and nervousness (OCD)
  • Depression and bipolar disorder, which involves both depression and manic behavior, are examples of mood disorders.
  • Autism spectrum disorder is a brain development issue that affects how a person perceives and interacts with others.
  • Tic disorder, sometimes known as Tourette syndrome, is a group of illnesses characterized by uncontrollable repetitive movements or sounds (tics).


To help your child’s risk of ADHD, do the following:

  • Avoid anything that could affect  fetal growth during pregnancy. Don’t drink alcohol, use recreational drugs, or smoke cigarettes, for example.
  • Toxins and pollutants, such as cigarette smoke and lead paint, should be avoided by your youngster.
  • Screen time should be limited. Although this has yet to be shown, it is possible that children should avoid excessive exposure to television and video games during their first five years of life.
Verified By Apollo Neurologist
The content is medically reviewed and verified by highly qualified Neurologists who bring extensive experience as well as their perspective from years of clinical practice, research and patient care

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