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ADHD

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that has many symptoms including difficulty paying attention and controlling one’s overall behavior. ADHD can occur in adults and children alike, but the symptoms always begin during childhood. ADHD can be managed following a treatment plan that is customized to the individual’s needs.

Symptoms

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has a wide array of symptoms making it difficult to diagnose ADHD. That is why to be diagnosed with ADHD the DSM-5 requires that symptoms must take place in multiple settings and be apparent for at least six months.

Common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty listening
  • Talking nonstop
  • Fidgeting
  • Trouble sitting still
  • Impatience
  • Difficulty controlling temper
  • Poor social skills
  • Delays in development
  • Trouble being organized
  • Poor time management

A person who has ADHD may not exhibit all of these symptoms, or they may exhibit some symptoms routinely and others rarely. ADHD symptoms present themselves in childhood, but may be overlooked with parents believing that they are just part of being a child. When symptoms of ADHD continue or start to manifest differently when the child hits adolescence many parents will then seek medical attention.

Diagnosis

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown. Genetics does play a role in the development of ADHD. If a parent has been diagnosed with ADHD the child has more than 50% chance of also having it. Other factors include babies who are born premature, children who suffer head injuries and possible exposure to toxins. It continues to be one of the most highly researched and studied psychiatric disorders. The doctor will diagnose based upon symptoms, family history and meeting of the DSM-5 criteria.

Management

Treatment for ADHD is highly customized to meet the needs of the individual. ADHD may present different challenges and difficulties for a specific person and those need to be addressed through tailored treatment options. Counselling is a common treatment option because it allows the individual to discuss their concerns and be assessed at the same time. There are many different psychological behavioral therapies that can help to treat children and adults alike who have ADHD. Cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy and interpersonal therapies are all proven to have positive outcomes. There are many resources available for families and individuals dealing ADHD including support groups, online forums and educational materials.

Medications classified as stimulants are quite effective in treating patients. These medications can help to increase focus, reduce impulsivity and restlessness. Medications are often used in conjunction with other therapies to increase the likelihood of treatment working effectively. It is important for medications to be properly monitored by a doctor as there are side effects that can stem from them including addiction and dependence. Diet modifications and regular exercise have a proven positive effect on those who suffer from ADHD.

ADHD requires ongoing treatment in order for symptoms to be effectively managed. Some treatments may work for a period of time, but then cease to be effective.

Treatment options for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are always improving, with education and research of the disorder being at the forefront of many psychological studies. Education and resources about ADHD are also becoming increasingly available allowing others to understand the disorder better. 

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