The Basics of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
A lot of people think attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a childhood disorder. The symptoms may begin in childhood, but there is a chance ADHD will continue to appear throughout adolescence and adulthood. If you or someone close to you find it difficult to pay attention and must move constantly, ADHD could be the culprit.
Symptoms of ADHD
The symptoms of ADHD are not immediate signals because they all can happen with people who do not have ADHD. But, if these signs occur repeatedly, the possibility increases. The most common signs of a person having ADHD are:
Difficulty Paying Attention
People with ADHD are usually unable to fully pay attention in school, at work, or during other activities. Their mind will wander, and they will often miss details or make mistakes that could have been prevented if they were able to pay attention. Organization may be difficult, such as keeping track of necessary supplies for school or work to finish tasks. They may simply avoid tasks that require a lot thinking, such as schoolwork. It can be too difficult for them to remain focused.
Fidgeting and the inability to sit still in a classroom or workplace are signs of ADHD. An overall sense of restlessness may come over them, causing distractions they are unable to calm. Being overactive could also include talking nonstop.
Acting Without Thinking
Regularly being impulsive is a sign of ADHD. If someone is finishing other people’s sentences, blurting statements out loud at inappropriate moments, or interrupting conversations, they may have ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
There are several factors that could play into someone having ADHD. Research suggests the interactions between genes and environmental factors could be a cause. There are also non-genetic factors. Passed on genes from someone could mean someone is already predisposed to having ADHD. Choices like cigarette smoking, alcohol, or drug use during pregnancy could end up having a negative effect on the baby and possibly cause ADHD. Environmental toxins like high levels of lead early in life could be a cause. Low birth rate and brain injuries may also be reasons for the development of ADHD in people.
Download The ADHD Fact Sheet
People with ADHD must remember that there was unlikely anything they did to cause their situation. And, although there currently is no cure for ADHD, there are treatments. There are steps to take that will allow for an enriched life.
Medication can reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity. It can also increase the ability to focus. There are several medication options, but a plan for treatment should be discussed with a doctor. Stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants are all used in some capacity to help people with ADHD.
Therapy could help with managing daily challenges. Parents and teachers can assist children and teens with keeping a usual routine and schedule, which may help them stay organized. When it comes to adults, a therapist can assist with techniques to keep a routine and manage tasks.
Educational and Training Options
School can be a major issue for people with ADHD. Paying attention, studying, and participating in class can all be very daunting. Special education is often provided, and educational specialists will help families and teachers create the best possible learning environment for the student.
There are training options for parents, families, and teachers intended to help people with ADHD. Parents are taught how to encourage their child. Learning how to respond to stress can also help parents calmly approach the behavior of their child. Interacting with other parents with similar issues can also provide the support parents and family members need.
You can find more information about ADHD from the CDC supported program, Children and Adults with Attention/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) online at http://chadd.org/nrc. You can also find information on these websites:
National Institute of Mental Health at www.nimh.nih.gov and http://www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd
MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine) at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder.html