Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that can cause above-normal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD may also have trouble focusing their attention on a single task or sitting still for extended periods of time.
Having a clear understanding of what research, studies, and real-life experiences tell us about ADHD is what will enable each individual to make informed decisions on how to treat this mental health and behavioral concern.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD symptoms vary from one person to the next and can vary based on age. The following are some of the symptoms that can present with ADHD in adults.
- Difficulty listening – Someone with ADHD might “zone out” in a college course or an important business meeting at work.
- Driving in a reckless manner – An adult with ADHD may become restless, and not think of the consequences on the road.
- Starting tasks and not finishing them – Adults with ADHD tend to be creative but have difficulty following through on the ideas or activities that they start.
- Trouble in their interpersonal relationships – Sometimes people with ADHD appear selfish in relationships. They may not seem to be listening to their partner or forget significant dates and cause their loved one to feel devalued.
- Diagnosing ADHD in children can be more complex. This is because children are quite different in terms of development from adults and may not share certain symptoms. Parents and teachers should look for the following if they suspect ADHD in a child.
Some signs of ADHD in children:
- Interrupting – A child will have trouble waiting for a person to finish before interjecting their opinion.
- Waiting their turn – They’ll struggle with waiting in line for snack time or their turn to play on the monkey bars on the playground.
- Difficulty focusing – The child might zone out or look disinterested in what’s happening in the classroom or what another person is telling them.
- Avoidance – A child may avoid doing a mundane task because they are not interested in it or it’s too difficult.
- Being forgetful – A common symptom of ADHD in children being forgetful. They might not remember to take their backpack to school or to complete their homework assignment.
What Causes ADHD?
Despite how common ADHD is, doctors and researchers still are not sure what causes the condition. It’s believed to have neurological origins. Genetics may also play a role.
Other risks factors of ADHD include:
- Brain injuries
- Low birth weight
- Lead exposure at an early age
- Exposure to lead, alcohol, or tobacco in-utero
- Premature delivery
How is ADHD Treated?
While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, behavioral therapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.