ADHD Information

ADHD Facts
  • ADHD is a psychiatric disorder that shows itself as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically seen in one’s peers.
  • Only a trained health care provider can accurately diagnose ADHD.
  • To be properly diagnosed with ADHD, an adult needs to demonstrate:
  • At least five of nine symptoms of inattention and/or at least five of nine symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (at school or work and at home) AND there is clear evidence of significant impairment is present in functioning at school, work, or social settings AND symptoms cannot be better explained by another psychiatric disorder.
  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school, schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention during tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  • Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.
  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, this may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness).
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly .
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed .
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (butts into conversations or games) .
ADHD in Adults vs. Children

The Difference in Symptoms

  • You get distracted at work and your child has trouble paying attention at school. You forget to pay your bills and your child forgets to do chores. The symptoms of ADHD may affect you differently, but the cause may be the same. Like your child, it’s possible that you could have ADHD.
  • The core ADHD symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior are the same for adults as for children. But these symptoms are often more subtle in adults. Hyperactivity, in particular, is generally less common in adults. While children with ADHD may be in constant motion, adults are more likely to have trouble relaxing.
  • Some people believe ADHD only affects children. But the truth is ADHD symptoms frequently continue into adult life. As many as 60 percent of children with ADHD may continue to have ADHD symptoms as adults (approximately 4 percent of adults). According to a study, it is estimated that only 25 percent of ADHD cases are diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.
  • All people display ADHD symptoms from time to time. So the guidelines for diagnosing a child or adult with ADHD are very specific. For children, the symptoms must occur more frequently than in other children the same age. For adults, the symptoms must persist from childhood and create everyday challenges. ADHD symptoms must cause significant difficulty in at least two areas of life, such as school, home, work, or social settings.
  • Not everyone with ADHD has every symptom or experiences the symptoms of ADHD to the same degree. The symptoms of ADHD can create difficulties in everyday life.
Getting Treatment for ADHD
  • Patients can successfully manage their ADHD symptoms with the right treatment. To do so takes a comprehensive approach.
  • If you’re diagnosed with ADHD, your health care professional may prescribe a medication to meet your needs. There is no cure for ADHD, and no one treatment is right for everyone. So your health care professional will tailor a treatment plan, weighing the benefits and risks of each treatment with your personal medical history.
  • There are two main types of medication for ADHD: stimulants and non-stimulants.
  • To date, the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat ADHD are from a class of drugs called stimulants. Stimulants can dramatically improve ADHD symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity. These include methylphenidate and amphetamines. Doctors have been prescribing stimulants to treat ADHD since 1960.
  • Stimulants are believed to enhance the availability of the brain’s chemical messengers dopamine and norepinephrine. These messengers play a role in behaviors like attention and movement.
  • Non-stimulants such as atomoxetine (Strattera) and buproprion (Wellbutrin) have also been shown to be effective in the treatment of ADHD symptoms. These medications are alternatives for those who do not respond well to stimulants or if a non-stimulant is preferred.
  • ADHD medications are typically available in short and long-acting formulations. The short-acting forms can last up to 4 hours. Long-acting forms are time-released to deliver medication throughout the day. Many experts believe that ADHD medication is most effective when used every day to encourage healthy habits like planning and discipline.
Additional Helpful Information

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