Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins at childhood and can persist into adulthood. Although ADHD is commonly found in children it is not uncommon for an adult to have it as well. There are three features that causes a child or adult to be diagnosed as having ADHD: hyperactivity, negligence, and impulsivity. Problems with ADHD can lead to a low self-esteem, difficulty at work or school, and trouble with relationships.
ADHD affects 5% of children and 2.5% of adults. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls. Girls diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to be diagnosed with the inattentive presentation. Children with ADHD are at greater risk than the general population to be diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder, with some research studies showing that as much as 50% of ADHD children demonstrating a co-occurring DBD.
Individuals with ADHD may have issues with:
- Difficulty sustaining attention on tasks and activities
- Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Fails to complete tasks and activities
- Avoids tasks that requires sustained mental effort
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities
- Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is required (i.e. classroom, mealtimes, religious services, workplace)
- Often runs and climbs in situations in which it is appropriate
- Is often “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor”
- Talks excessively
- Difficulty waiting turn (i.e., during games, in line)
Treating ADHD often requires medical, educational, behavioral and psychological interventions. This comprehensive approach to treatment is sometimes called “multimodal” and, depending on the age of the individual with ADHD, may include:
- parent training
- skills training
- behavioral therapy
- educational supports
- education regarding ADHD
Working closely with health care providers and other professionals, treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each individual and family to help the patient control symptoms, cope with the disorder, improve overall psychological well-being and manage social relationships.