Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Key Concepts: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Imagine for a moment how much more enjoyable and productive life might be if you were able to reduce distractibility, focus on what’s most important and enjoy greater success.

If you’re struggling with distraction, impulsivity, and restlessness, you could be one of the MILLIONS BATTLING ADHD. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children. However, it’s not just kids who live with ADHD; an estimated eight to nine million adults in the United States (roughly 4.4%) are diagnosed with it.

ADHD CHARACTERISTICS

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) identifies three different types of ADHD: Complete, Predominately Inattentive, and Hyperactive-Impulsive. Often the term “ADD” is used as a catchall for all three subtypes. Three core characteristics are used to identify ADHD:

• Distractibility (unable to give sustained attention to a task)

• Impulsivity (unable to delay gratification)

• Hyperactivity (unable to be still – a physical restlessness) SYMPTOMS OF ADHD Different people experience ADHD in different ways.

Distractibility Symptoms:

• Fails to give attention to details

• Has difficulty paying attention during tasks or play

• Doesn’t appear to listen when spoken to directly

• Struggles with organizing tasks and activities

• Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort

Fails to follow through on instructions or complete tasks

• Loses toys, assignments, pencils, books, or other tools needed for tasks

• Frequently forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity Symptoms:

• Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

• Leaves seat when it’s expected for them to remain seated

• Runs around or climbs in inappropriate situations

• Has problems playing or working quietly

• Acts as if “driven by a motor,” and is often “on the go”

• Talks excessively

Impulsivity Symptoms:

• Blurts out answers before questions are even completed

• Shows difficulty waiting their turn

• Interrupts or intrudes on others (interferes with conversations or games)

ADHD CAUSES AND TREATMENT

Evidence suggests ADHD runs in families, usually begins in childhood, and occurs more in boys than girls. ADHD is a treatable illness. The most effective options are a combination of medication and counseling.

ACTION STEPS

If you or a loved one relate to these symptoms, there are services in place to help you. If you think you have ADHD:

✓ Schedule an appointment for a checkup with your primary care provider.

✓ Ask your physician to suggest a professional specializing in ADHD.

KEEP IN MIND

You’re not alone, and help is available. Consider reaching out to your health care provider and engaging other counseling resources for guidance on next steps.

What steps will you take today to be well and live life more fully?

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