Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is often diagnosed in childhood and can last into adulthood. The condition can cause a variety of symptoms, which can have an impact on different areas of life, including education and work, relationships, and self-esteem.
The exact cause of ADHD is unclear, but the condition can run in families and risk factors such as premature birth and low birth weight are thought to increase the risk of developing ADHD.
Types of ADHD
ADHD can present itself in several different ways depending on the types of symptoms presented by the individual. This can include:
- Predominantly Inattentive Presentation – This type of ADHD can make it difficult to organize or finish a task, concentrate, or follow instructions or conversations, and the individual may be easily distracted, forgetful, or have a short attention span.
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation – With this type of ADHD, the individual often fidgets or talks excessively. They may seem very restless and have difficulty with impulsivity – such as a tendency to act without thinking or on a whim. Children may find it difficult to take turns or listen to instructions. A person with this type of ADHD is also more likely to have more accidents and injuries than others.
- Combined Presentation – Some people with ADHD may present with both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Signs and symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can vary and may change over time. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, these symptoms can lead to significant problems, such as underachieving at school, difficulties with relationships and social interaction, and risk-taking behavior.
The most common inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity signs and symptoms include:
- Losing focus, getting easily distracted, and not following through on instructions.
- A lack of attention to detail or making careless mistakes, such as at work, in schoolwork, or during other activities.
- Poor attention span/concentration on tasks or during play activities.
- The inability to listen when spoken to directly.
- Trouble organizing tasks/activities.
- Avoiding, disliking, or showing reluctance to do tedious or time-consuming tasks requiring mental efforts, such as schoolwork or homework.
- Forgetfulness in daily activities.
- Losing things necessary for tasks/activities, such as school equipment, tools, keys, or wallet.
- Fidgeting a lot, such as squirming in the seat or tapping hands or feet.
- Running about, jumping, or climbing when inappropriate (more so in children).
- Often feeling restless (more so in adolescents and adults).
- Inability to play or take part in activities quietly.
- Talking or physically moving excessively.
- Frequently interrupting or intruding on others or speaking at inappropriate times.
- Blurting out answers before questions have been completed.
- Difficulty waiting for a turn.
- Appearing to be “always on the go.”
- Having little or no sense of danger.
Diagnosing and Treating ADHD
If you are concerned that you or your child has ADHD, you should discuss it with your healthcare provider, because many other conditions can have similar symptoms. Your provider will evaluate your personal and family health history, review your symptoms (such as when and how often they occur, how they impact daily life, and when they first started), and may also carry out a physical exam. Your healthcare provider may recommend further investigation and diagnosis from a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
In order to help diagnose ADHD, healthcare providers use the guidelines outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition (DSM-5). Individuals with ADHD typically show a persistent pattern of inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive behavior, which affects their development or their ability to function. They must have 6 or more symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsivity (5 or more in people age 17 years and over) and symptoms must be present for at least 6 months and be inappropriate for their developmental level.
There are a range of effective treatments for ADHD, and the treatment that is right for you or your child will depend on factors such as age and personal preferences. The condition can often be managed well using a combination of treatments, including behavior therapy and medications. Training for parents and family members may also be included in the treatment plan.
Diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Bradenton, FL
At Intercoastal Medical Group, we provide expert care for ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Our compassionate and dedicated multispecialty providers offer a comprehensive range of healthcare services for you and your family.
To schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified providers or to learn more about our services, you can call us at one of our convenient office locations or use our link to schedule an appointment online.