Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. There are mainly three types of ADHD according to the prevalence of individual symptoms: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation and Combined Presentationood.

Causes

Genetics are regarded as playing a crucial role in determining the onset of ADHD, but an easily identifiable factor has yet to be established

 

Other possible causes and risk factors include: brain injury, environmental exposure to various toxic substances (i.e. lead), alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery and low birth weight

Symptoms and signs

Predominantly Inattentive Presentation:

Difficulty in focusing on one thing, easily distracted, little attention is frequently given to detail

 

Carelessness in schoolwork and other activities

 

A person with ADHD does not seem to listen when being spoken to directly, does not follow through with instructions

 

Has trouble with organizing tasks

 

Often avoids or dislikes activities that require concentration and more strenuous mental effort over a longer period of time

 

Often misplaces or loses objects needed for completing tasks (school materials, books, pencils, keys, paperwork etc.)

 

Is often forgetful

 

Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive:

Often fidgets with or taps hands and feet, inability to stay still for longer periods of time

 

Often wants to leave when seating is expected

 

Often feels restless

 

Unable to take part in activities requiring keeping quiet

 

Seems to always be “on the go”

 

Talks excessively, answers before completion of a question

 

Has trouble with waiting for his/her appropriate turn

 

Often interrupts others


Combined Presentation:

In addition to a mixture of the aforementioned signs, other symptoms must be noticed as well: several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12, several symptoms manifest in more than two settings (at least – home, school, or work, in the presence of family or friends etc.), there is clear evidence that the behaviors are interfering with a normal, expected quality of life, the symptoms cannot be accounted for by other mental disorders such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative or personality disorders

Advice

Behavioral intervention strategies are often suggested as beneficial, namely: creating a routine to be followed daily and getting organized in order to limit distractions, limiting choices to no more than two options, changing one’s pattern of interaction giving clear and brief instructions, using a chart to list goals and note down positive behaviors, cultivating social skills and boosting self-esteem by focusing on one’s talents and skills

 

Several different types of medications can be given in aiding ADHD patients: stimulants and nonstimulants that have fewer side-effects, but only last for approximately 24 hours

 

In the case of children with ADHD, parent education and support are crucial parts of a comprehensive strategy of dealing with ADHD symptomatology

 

School accommodations and interventions should also be provided

MISCONCEPTIONS
  • That only children can suffer from ADHD – in fact, teenagers and adults too can develop this disorder

     

    Having ADHD results in compromised peer relationships

     

    ADHD is not an excuse for being lazy and unmotivated

     

    ADHD is caused by poor parental discipline

     

    ADHD is ‘curable’ – the disorder is a chronic condition that takes years to put together a satisfactory management of its symptoms, so a sudden cure brought about by excessive medications is out of the question

     

    It is a condition one can simply ‘grow out of’

Statistics

ADHD persists into adulthood in an estimated of 50-66% of individuals

 

A higher prevalence of the disorder is seen in males

 

The combined inattentive-hyperactive-impulsive ADHD is considered the most prevalent of the three forms

 

A meta-analysis of studies (n=102) of children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD found that the prevalence of the disorder in individuals aged less than 18 years of age varied between countries worldwide, researchers arguing that ADHD is not a cultural construct associated with a particular geographical location, though data prevalence varies significantly in North America and both Africa and the Middle East

 

Individual studies have estimated a prevalence of ADHD in adults, ranging from 1.1% in Australia to 7.3% in France

 

In the United States, approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011

 

The percentage of children with ADHD seems to be increasing at an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011

Did you know?

There is no single test able to correctly identify whether a person suffers from ADHD, extensive research being needed, in addition to the fact that a series of at least six symptoms, disruptive to one’s normal development and/or environment, must be noticeable for a period of a minimum of six months

 

A relatively large number of famous personalities have been reportedly been diagnosed with ADHD: Albert Einstein, Mozart, Louis Pasteur, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, John Lennon, Jules Verne, Alexander Graham Bell, Agatha Christie, John F. Kennedy, George Bernard Shaw, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Steve McQueen, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey and many others