What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that can cause inattention, or excessive activity and impulsiveness which is not appropriate for age.
Both adults and children can have ADHD. More than 60% of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms in adulthood.
DSM V: Types of ADHD
- Predominantly inattentive
- Predominantly impulsive or hyperactive
- Combination of the above
- The onset is usually before age 12
- Symptoms present at school, work or home
- The disturbance causes significant impairment in social, occupational and academic functioning
- The disorder is not accounted for by any other behaviour disorder.
The cause behind this disease is unknown in most of the cases. It is related to a variety of factors that include both a genetic and an environmental component. It is one of the most heritable psychiatric disorders. Siblings and twins have twice the risk of having ADHD than the general population. Similarly, viral infections, smoking during pregnancy, nutritional deficiency and alcohol exposure in the foetus are also known to be possible causes of the disorder.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms begin at a young age and usually include lack of attention, lack of concentration, disorganization, difficulty completing tasks, being forgetful, and losing things. These symptoms should be present before the age of 12, have lasted six months, and interfere with daily life activities in order to be diagnosed as 'ADHD'. This must be present in more than one setting (ie at home and at school, or at school and at after school activities). It can have large consequences including social interactions, increased risky behaviors, loss of jobs, and difficulty achieving in school. They are easily distracted, forgetful, impatient and interrupt people while talking. There are difficulties faced in academics as well as the relationships.
It is diagnosed by an assessment of a child's behavioural and mental development, alongside ruling out the effects of medications and other medical or psychiatric problems which could cause the symptoms. ADHD should be differentiated with Depression, Anxiety disorder and Bipolar disorder.
ADHD is diagnosed in children based upon their history where the children face difficulty in at least 6 of the 9 symptoms as mentioned in DSM V.
Inattentive symptoms include: not paying close attention to tasks, missing small details, rushing through tasks, not seeming to listen when spoken two, difficulty organizing things, not finishing work, dislikes or avoids tasks that take sustained mental effort, losing things, or being forgetful.
Hyperactive symptoms include: fidgeting, feeling like an "internal motor" is always going, leaving their seat, climbing on things, being loud, blurting out answers, talking excessively or out of turn, having trouble waiting their turn, interrupts or intrudes on others. These symptoms must be present in multiple settings.
In adults, these core symptoms may be missing and they may manifest as other problems such as procrastination, mood instability, and low self-esteem. They will likely be more impulsive in nature, or inattentive, as the hyperactivity symptoms can be better controlled.
Management includes counselling or behavioural therapy with or without medications. Regular exercise, proper diet and behavioural therapy together can help greatly.
Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctor's consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.
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