ADHD Symptoms

How to Spot Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a mental disorder normally associated with boys and affects around 11% of children. The condition is characterized by trouble with concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It is three times more common in boys than in girls, but it also affects an estimated 4% of adults with an even split between men and women, but this could be due to underdiagnosis in young girls. Once diagnosed, both medication and psychotherapy are utilized to treat it.

ADHD Symptoms

Forms of ADHD

The standard ADHD definition includes a lack of focus, restlessness, and rash behavior that occurs consistently over a long period of time. It also reaches a level that seriously interferes with important facets of life. ADHD involves a large number of symptoms that aren’t intrinsically tied to one another. Therefore, the condition is normally divided into three types of ADHD. The combined form includes symptoms related to inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness, but it’s also possible for an individual to have either attention deficit alone or hyperactive-impulsive ADHD as a distinct disorder. A more detailed list of symptoms for the inattentive form of ADHD, or ADHD without hyperactivity, includes the following.

  • Lack of attention
  • Ignoring details
  • Disorganized
  • Careless errors
  • Incomprehension of instructions
  • Ignoring verbal instructions
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetfulness
  • Shunning of sustained effort
  • Misplacement of job-related equipment

These symptoms happen more often in girls and might explain the lower frequency of detection for the condition in their ranks since these behaviors are less disruptive in the classroom. Hyperactive-impulsive ADHD affects boys to a greater extent and is recognized more easily due to the following symptoms.

  • Shifting and fidgeting
  • Not remaining seated
  • Hyperactivity
  • Improper running and climbing
  • Excess talking
  • Excessively noisy play
  • Interrupting others
  • Refusal to wait turn

Making a Diagnosis

Various rating scales are employed based on the symptoms just mentioned, and some contain more descriptors than in the previous lists. For instance, problems like easy boredom, daydreaming, and jumping to one job before completing the last are considered in certain scales regarding ADHD without hyperactivity. An ADHD rating scale usually assigns a frequency level numerical weighting to each symptom checked. The most popular rating scales for this mental disorder include the Child Behavior Checklist, the Vanderbilt ADHD Teacher Rating Scale and Parent Rating Scale, ADHD Rating Scale-IV, and Connors’ Rating Scales. Rating scale results are evaluated by a mental health professional since the symptoms of ADHD can overlap with those of other mental conditions like bipolar spectrum disorders, dyslexia, or even major depression.

Taking Control

ADHD can’t be cured, but it can be successfully treated, and sometimes, children will outgrow it. Psychotherapy involves conditioning the patient to replace destructive behaviors with constructive ones through positive reinforcement or coaching. The favored medications for ADHD are stimulants like amphetamines and dextroamphetamines. These substances produce noticeable improvement in at least 70% of patients. The non-stimulant atomoxetine is used to help sufferers concentrate. If these drugs don’t work, others like imipramine, a PTSD medication, or sertraline, an SSRI antidepressant, are employed.