Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly referred to as ADHD, is a very common condition in children. Unfortunately, it is often misunderstood and, in some cases, even misdiagnosed.
People often want to know the signs and symptoms of ADHD in children, as well as the signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults.
Understanding the signs and symptoms also means understanding the condition, the difference between ADD and ADHD, and understanding how these conditions are diagnosed.
It is normal for children to occasionally daydream during class, forget their homework, act without thinking, or get uneasy while eating at the dinner table. But carelessness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity are also signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or formerly known as attention deficit disorder(ADD). ADHD can lead to problems at home as well as at school. This affects your child’s ability to learn and get along with others. The first step to solving the problem and getting your child the help they need is to learn to recognize the signs and ADHD symptoms.
Children are usually recognized as troublemakers or criticized for being lazy and undisciplined if sometimes they can not sit still, never seem to listen, does not follow instructions no matter how clearly you present them, or who blurt out inappropriate comments at inappropriate times. But, they may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that affects their behavior. Children with ADHD have trouble to inhibit their spontaneous responses, responses that can involve everything from action to speech to attentiveness.
What is ADHD in Children?
First things first, it is important to understand that ADHD, contrary to what some people think, has nothing to do with “misbehaving” or being a “bad” child. Also, the condition does not only affect children. It can also affect adults or not be diagnosed until a person is an adult.
With that said, a person who has ADHD has brain development that is different from the brain development of a person without the condition. A person with ADHD also has different brain activity that can cause problems with paying attention and with controlling one’s actions and impulses.
If you’re wondering what ADD is, it is a similar condition but not exactly the same. In fact, ADD is actually a subtype of ADHD, often referred to as inattentive ADHD. People with this form of the condition struggle mostly with finishing tasks, following directions, processing information quickly, and not getting distracted. However, those with inattentive ADHD are less likely to be hyperactive and to struggle with impulsiveness.
What Are the Signs of ADHD in Children?
Now that you understand more about ADHD and one of its common subtypes, it is easier to understand the signs and symptoms that a person may have the condition.
In children, some of the most common signs include:
- Becoming easily distracted
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty staying on one task for an extended period of time
- Trouble following directions
- Constant daydreaming
- Being hyperactive/restless
- Getting bored easily
- Being disruptive without meaning to
- Risky behavior
- Acting before thinking
- Extreme impatience
- Problems related to behavior
- Careless mistakes
It is important to note that some of these symptoms are present and normal in children without ADHD.
However, when several symptoms are present and are beyond what is considered normal for children of a similar age and intelligence level, ADHD may be diagnosed. Remember, only a health care professional can truly diagnose ADHD. In other words, you should not attempt to diagnose it yourself based only on these signs.
As mentioned earlier, ADHD does not only present itself in children. The condition often exists in adults as well. However, the symptoms sometimes present themselves differently and/or may not be as obvious.
Some signs that an adult may have ADHD include:
- Difficulty getting and/or staying organized
- Trouble focusing attention
- Being easily distracted
- Poor listening skills
- Difficulty completing tasks fully or correctly
Three Subtypes of ADHD
Combined ADHD – Individual displays both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms.
Predominantly Inattentive ADHD – Symptoms are primarily related to inattention. The individual does not display significant hyperactive/impulsive behaviors.
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD – Symptoms are primarily related to hyperactivity and impulsivity. The individual does not display significant attention problems.
Can ADHD Be Treated and How?
Whether the person diagnosed with ADHD is an adult or a child, the condition can be challenging to live with. It can also make it hard for a person to be successful at work, school, or other pursuits.
The good news, however, is that there are many different treatment options available for ADHD, and it’s just a matter of finding a treatment or a combination of treatments that work best for each specific person.
For many people, medication is the answer.
Many people with ADHD take stimulants to help them manage their condition, but not all ADHD drugs are stimulants. In fact, there are many different types of ADHD drugs out there.
A doctor can help a person find the right one or ones for his or her specific condition.
Behavioral therapy is another common way that ADHD is treated. Through therapy, people can learn better ways to cope with and manage their condition and its effects.
In addition to these two common treatments, which are often used together, many people also turn to natural solutions for ADHD, such as improving diet and overall lifestyle. Typically, these things won’t work alone, but they can often be helpful when used in conjunction with other treatments.
The bottom line is that ADHD does not have to cause a person extreme difficulty in life. It can be treated, especially with the right medical care and support, and people with the condition can go on to live normal, healthy lives and to be quite successful.
If you are concerned that you, your child, or someone else in your life may have ADHD, the first step is seeking professional advice.
Do not attempt to diagnose or treat the condition yourself. Instead, work with a qualified professional to find out if the condition exists and, if so, what the best course of action for treating it is.