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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

How do we know when a child should be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? What are the symptoms, and how are they different from other disorders? Are there treatments? Let's take a look to answer these questions about ADHD.

  • What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
  • What are symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
  • What are the types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
  • What are treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Definition

Simply put, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder (when the brain and neurological system do not function properly) in childhood that affects behaviors. Most typically, while ADHD is diagnosed in childhood, there is significant evidence that shows its presence in adulthood. Generally speaking, children with ADHD are exceedingly active or have trouble controlling behaviors. So, what are the most common symptoms of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Typical Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder child symptoms StudySmarterHyper child, pixabay.com

Essentially, ADHD can fall under two categories: hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and inattentiveness (NHS website, 2022). A mixture of symptoms from each major category is necessary to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Below are nine examples of ADHD symptoms:

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness

Symptoms of inattentiveness

Overly talkativeFidgeting or squirmingInability to concentrate on tasksTrouble taking turns with activities Short attention span or inattentionEasily distractedConstantly changing tasks or activitiesLosing things or forgetfulDaydreaming a lot

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosis

Currently, no specific tests can show if a child has ADHD. Therefore, other tests are used to rule out other possible causes. Because there are possible hearing or vision problems, these tests are the first to be utilized. Diagnosing can take time as it is imperative to have family members, teachers, and doctors note if there are any changes in behaviors that the child may demonstrate.

Types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Once behaviors are recorded, it is easier to understand which type of ADHD may be present. Different types of ADHD are identified based on symptoms. The three identified types of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are predominately hyperactive-impulsive, predominately inattentive, and combined presentation type (NHS website, 2022). Again, while there is most often a mixture of symptoms of ADHD, there is often a predominant presentation of ADHD.

Hyperactive-impulsive presentation type

Predominately inattentive presentation type

This type often fidgets, talks a lot, and may (if they are a young child) run or jump frequently. Also, a person displays behaviors such as interrupting, having accidents or injuries, or having trouble finishing tasks.

A person with this type often forgets things and cannot pay attention for long periods or follow instructions. They may often seem distracted.

Combined Presentation Type

The presence of both types in shown symptoms.

It should be noted that over time, presentations can change; therefore, types can also change as the person with ADHD ages.

Causes of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

You may be wondering what causes ADHD. Unfortunately, there is limited research available to explain the causes of ADHD. However, there are strong links that indicate the possibility of brain development affecting ADHD.

Genetics

There is a correlation between parents’ genetics and the possible cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Those who have past relatives diagnosed with ADHD are most likely to be diagnosed with this disorder.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder genetics a common factor in ADHD diagnoses StudySmarterGenetics a factor in ADHD, pixabay.com

Brain Development

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder. Therefore, it is safe to assume that brain function and development could strongly correlate to ADHD. The brains of people diagnosed with ADHD are different from those who don't have this disorder. Unfortunately, these differences do not have any proven significance. Research suggests that those differences are in the size of the brain and neurotransmitters' activity.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

For those with children who may have ADHD, therapy is often implemented in their routine. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an excellent tool for parents and teachers to help facilitate wanted behaviors. This type of therapy usually includes a reward system to help identify those positive behaviors, such as finishing a task or listening to directions.

Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Medications

ADHD can make daily routines, such as work or studies difficult. Several medications have been approved for use to treat ADHD symptoms. Below are the most commonly used medications for adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD:

  1. Methylphenidate

  2. Guanfacine

  3. Lisdexamfetamine

  4. Atomoxetine

  5. Dexamfetamine

Medications for ADHD, pixabay.com

Taking medications for ADHD is not a cure but can help with some associated symptoms. Most of these medications can help with concentration and feeling less anxious. They can be either stimulant or non-stimulant. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2002), those suffering from ADHD mostly use stimulants, as they are shown to be the most helpful. The CDC also states that non-stimulant medications approved for ADHD in 2003 are not as fast-acting as a stimulant. However, they can last for up to 24 hours.

Most often, these medications are only offered to adults. It can be incredibly helpful to have had a diagnosis of ADHD in childhood so that a care provider can monitor whether the necessity of medication is warranted in adulthood.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - Key takeaways

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder in childhood that affects behaviors.
  • A neurodevelopmental disorder is when the brain and neurological system do not function properly.
  • There are two subcategories: hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and inattentiveness.
  • There are three different presentation types of ADHD: predominately hyperactive-impulsive presentation, predominately inattentive presentation, and combined presentation type.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often implemented for children diagnosed with ADHD.
  • ADHD medications are either of a stimulant or non-stimulant variation.
    • Stimulant medications are most helpful in controlling symptoms.
    • Non-stimulant medications are not as quick but can last up to 24 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Overly talkative
Fidgeting or squirming
Inability to concentrate on tasks
Trouble taking turns 

Short attention span or inattention
Easily distracted
Constantly changing tasks or activities
Losing things or forgetful
Daydreaming a lot

Simply put, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder (when the brain and neurological system do not function properly) in childhood that affects behaviors.

Research shows that there may be a correlation between brain development and ADHD as well as genetics.

Currently, no specific tests can show if a child has ADHD. Therefore, other tests are used to rule out other possible causes. Because there are possible hearing or vision problems, these tests are the first to be utilized. Diagnosing can take time as it is imperative to have family members, teachers, and doctors note if there are any changes in behaviors that the child may demonstrate. 


Hyperactive-impulsive presentation type. This type often fidgets, talks a lot, and may (if they are a young child) run or jump frequently. Also, a person displays behaviors such as interrupting, having accidents or injuries, or having trouble finishing tasks.

Final Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Quiz

Question

What therapy is most often used to help those diagnosed with ADHD?

Show answer

Answer

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

Show question

Question

There are three presentation types of ADHD.

1. Hyperactive-impulsive presentation type

2. _________________

3. Combined Presenation Type 

Show answer

Answer

2. Predominately inattentive presentation type

Show question

Question

What is not a speculated cause of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Show answer

Answer

Genetics

Show question

Question

What are three symtpoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness?


Show answer

Answer

Overly talkative

Fidgeting or squirming

Inability to concentrate on tasks

Trouble taking turns with activities

Show question

Question

What are three symptoms of inattentiveness?

Show answer

Answer

Short attention span

Easily distracted

Constantly changing task or activity

Losing things or forgetful

Daydreaming a lot

Show question

Question

ADHD is considered a __________ disorder. 

Show answer

Answer

neurodevelopmental 

Show question

Question

True or False: Adults suffer from ADHD

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

​True or False: There is no one specific test for ADHD. Rather, there are tests that can be used to rule out the diagnoses. 


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What are two common medications that are used to help adults diagnosed with ADHD?


A. Methylphenidate and Guanfacine

B. Acetametaphine and Adderall 

C. Fluticasone and Pregabalin

Show answer

Answer

A. Methylphenidate and Guanfacine

Show question

Question

What are the two categories for which symptoms of ADHD fall under?

Show answer

Answer

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsiveness and Symptoms of Inattentiveness

Show question

Question

True or False: Medications for ADHD are cures to the diagnoses.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Medications used for ADHD are either composed of __________ and non-stimulants

Show answer

Answer

Stimulants

Show question

Question

______ medications are most commonly used for ADHD symptoms.


A.Stimulant

B. Non-stimulant 

Show answer

Answer

A. Stimulant 

Show question

Question

_______ medications used for ADHD are fast-acting but are able to last up to 24 hours.


A.Stimulant

B. Non-Stimulant 


Show answer

Answer

B. Non-Stimulant 

Show question

Question

_____ and ____ tests are most often used to help rule out ADHD diagnoses. 


A. Reflex and Hearing

B. Vision and Hearing 

C. Vision and Spelling

Show answer

Answer

B. Vision and Hearing 

Show question

Question

True or false: ADHD is equally diagnosed in children and adults. 

Show answer

Answer

False - it is more often diagnosed in children

Show question

Question

What is not a symptom of hyperactivity/impulsiveness?

Show answer

Answer

Fidgeting

Show question

Question

What is not a symptom of inattentiveness?

Show answer

Answer

Being forgetful

Show question

Question

What is the test used to diagnose ADHD?

Show answer

Answer

Trick question! There is no test. 

Show question

Question

Which type of ADHD would someone who interrupts others while talking be?

Show answer

Answer

Hyperactive-impulsive 

Show question

Question

Which type of ADHD would someone who forgets a lot If things be?

Show answer

Answer

Hyperactive-impulsive 

Show question

Question

Which type of ADHD fidgets and talks a lot?

Show answer

Answer

Predominantly inattentive

Show question

Question

Which type of ADHD gets distracted and can't follow instructions?

Show answer

Answer

Hyperactive-impulsive 

Show question

Question

Which type of ADHD would someone be if they can't pay attention and struggle finishing tasks?

Show answer

Answer

Predominantly inattentive

Show question

Question

Can someone's type of ADHD change as they get older?

Show answer

Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

Can the presentation of someone's ADHD symptoms change?

Show answer

Answer

Yes

Show question

Question

True or False?


If your relative has ADHD, you are not at a higher risk to develop ADHD. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Is there a significance to differences in people's brains with ADHD?

Show answer

Answer

No. While there are differences in brains, there is not sufficient research yet to prove a connection. 

Show question

Question

What medication is prescribed to children with ADHD?

Show answer

Answer

Most often no medication is offered for children with ADHD

Show question

Question

Is genetics a cause of ADHD?

Show answer

Answer

Studies have found that there is a correlation between parents' genetics and ADHD but since correlation doesn't equal causation, it's not a for sure cause

Show question

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