If you observe many of the symptoms in the list on the right in our brief survey, you or someone you are evaluating may have ADHD. There are three different types of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The first type is a combination of the three areas; Inattentive and Hyperactive / Impulsive. There is a predominantly, Inattentive type. And, there is a predominantly, Hyperactive/ Impulsive type.
These symptoms can start younger than age 7. Many people are diagnosed after the symptoms have been present for many years. The impairment needs to be present in at least two different settings like home, school, work, or in the store. To be a diagnosis there needs to be a clear indication that the problem is interfering with their appropriate school, work, or social functioning.
Symptoms typically get worse in situations that require sustained attention or mental effort or that lack intrinsic appeal or novelty. Signs of this disorder may be minimal or absent when the person is under strict control, is in a new setting, is engaging in especially interesting activities, is in a one on one situation, or while the person experiences frequent rewards for appropriate behavior. The symptoms are more likely to occur in a group setting.
ADHD is known to occur in various cultures in Western countries. It is very hard to diagnose in children younger than 5 years old because their behavior is more varied at that age and younger. Very young children look like they match the ADHD criteria because there is little demand for their sustained attention. As children mature they are more likely to be able to control their behavior. Signs of ADHD are less common in adolescence.
ADHD is more frequent in males than in females ranging from 4:1 in the normal population and 9:1 in clinics. In the general population only 3-5% of school age children have ADHD. The data on adolescents and adults is limited.
Symptoms typically show up in childhood and then attenuate in adolescence and adulthood. People that maintain some symptoms into adulthood generally do not have all the symptoms they experienced as a child. This is referred to as being in partial remission. There are indications that ADHD runs in families’ especially in first degree relatives who had ADHD as children.
ADHD can occur in situations where a child is placed in an academic setting beyond their abilities. It may also occur when a child is placed in an academic setting that is too low for their abilities.
ADHD may also be a goal directed behavior where the child feels the setting is disorganized, chaotic, or inadequate to the child’s needs. Reports from multiple informants such as babysitters, grandparents, teachers, parents, playmates, etc. are very useful in understanding the scope of the issue.
A child may develop oppositional behavior toward school or chores as a way of avoiding their difficulties. This may be part of a child’s rationalization of their failure to do well in school. This oppositional behavior leads to conflicts with parents or school staff which compounds the issues and parenting concerns of these children.
Typically, ADHD can be managed with behavior training. Occasionally, the condition is so severe that the child fails to learn developmental skills. In these cases medication helps the child focus while learning skills and then the medication can be reduced or eliminated as the child learns coping skills to maintain their focus and improve their impulse control.
We have several therapists that work well with children, adolescents, and even adults with ADHD. We would like to help you sort out the root of the problem and then manage your difficulties better. Contact us for your initial consultation. There are ways to achieve more calm and order in your life. Haven’t you waited long enough? We are here for you; call us at (208) 373-0790.