What is ADHD and How Can it Be Treated?
ADHD can be a difficult disorder to live with, but there are treatments and support groups available to help you manage your symptoms.
People with ADHD tend to have a mix of behavioral and non-behavioral symptoms. Depending on your age and other health factors, you may have one or more of the 3 main subtypes: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, or mixed.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD is a common condition that affects children and adults. It is often characterized by problems with attention and impulsivity. It can interfere with daily functioning and lead to poor school performance, social problems, and poor self-esteem.
Symptoms of adhd may appear at any age, but a diagnosis of ADHD usually occurs in childhood or adolescence. It is important to note that some symptoms of ADHD can be caused by other conditions, such as head injuries or thyroid disorders, and a full psychiatric evaluation is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Many people with adhd also have mood disorders, anxiety or other mental health issues. These comorbidities can be difficult to manage and often require treatment in addition to medication for ADHD.
Some people with adhd have difficulty controlling their temper, which can be a sign of irritability. This irritability can lead to anger outbursts and irrational behavior.
Adults with adhd often feel overwhelmed by their tasks, leading to feelings of frustration and helplessness. They may also have difficulty focusing on tasks and have trouble planning ahead. These challenges can cause them to miss deadlines or forget meetings and social plans. Fortunately, with appropriate treatment, most adults with adhd can learn to improve their attention and self-control.
Types of ADHD
ADHD is a neurological condition that can be classified into several subtypes. These subtypes vary depending on a person’s symptoms and how they affect daily life.
The most common type of ADHD is the inattentive type. This is characterized by inattention and distraction issues, but not hyperactivity or impulsiveness.
Children and adults with this type of ADHD may be easily distracted by extraneous stimuli and have trouble paying attention to instructions or instructions that aren’t clear. They might also make careless mistakes in their work and lose things often.
Another common symptom of this type of ADHD is restlessness, or the feeling that someone needs to move constantly. Kids with this type of ADHD often get up in the middle of a lesson, leave their seats in a restaurant, or interrupt other people in conversation.
Adults with this type of ADHD can become frustrated, blame themselves for their behaviors, and hold grudges. Mental health professionals can help them overcome these feelings and find solutions to cope with their problems. They can also teach them ways to avoid stress and manage their emotions more effectively. Medications may be used to treat these issues and improve quality of life for people with ADHD.
Causes of ADHD
Although the exact causes of ADHD aren’t known, researchers suspect that genetics and certain factors at key stages in development can play a role. They’ve also found that certain environmental and medical conditions may increase the risk of developing ADHD.
For example, babies born prematurely have a higher risk of developing attention problems. However, it’s important to note that this is not a guarantee that a child will develop an ADHD diagnosis.
Symptoms of ADHD can appear alongside other health or learning issues, such as oppositional and defiant behaviors, mood and anxiety problems. In these cases, a health check should be performed to identify the cause of the symptoms.
Treatments for ADHD can include medication and behavioral therapy. Medication works by activating the brain’s ability to pay attention, slow down and use self-control.
Other types of therapy, such as behavior modification, involve teaching children and adults to monitor their behaviors and make changes to improve their behaviors. The goal of behavioral therapy is to change negative patterns of thinking that lead to ADHD symptoms.
The best approach for treating ADHD is to combine both medication and behavioral therapies. Medication activates the brain’s ability to pay attention, while behavioral therapy helps kids and adults learn skills that are lagging behind ADHD symptoms.
How is ADHD Diagnosed?
Diagnosing ADHD is a complex process. It involves a lot of interviews with you and your child, reviewing school records and questionnaires, and testing for learning disabilities. Doctors and mental health professionals also use the DSM-5 as a guide to give an accurate diagnosis.
Children with ADHD have trouble with attention and hyperactivity that can’t be explained by other health or learning problems. These behaviors can be disruptive at home and in school, leading to academic, organizational, and relationship challenges.
But, kids with ADHD can get better at managing their symptoms if they’re diagnosed early. Treatment can help them concentrate on their work, stay focused, and control their impulsive behavior.
Medications are the most common type of treatment for ADHD. They increase brain chemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine that help with focus and attention.
If medications aren’t helpful, your doctor may recommend behavioral therapy or other forms of treatment. Therapists can teach your child skills to manage their ADHD and build self-esteem.
Some kids with ADHD are also a bit defiant, have learning problems, or experience mood and anxiety disorders. These are usually treated together with ADHD.
Treatsments for ADHD
Medications that treat ADHD work by changing the way your brain works. This helps improve focus, concentration, and self-control. Stimulant medications are the most common treatment, but other medicines can also be used to manage symptoms.
These medications are usually started with a low dose and increased over time as needed. The dosage is based on how well it works and how tolerable the side effects are.
Methylphenidate (sample brand names: Concerta, Focalin, Metadate, Methylin, Ritalin) is the most commonly prescribed stimulant medication for children and adults with ADHD. It’s available in immediate-release and modified-release tablets or capsules.
Other stimulants include atomoxetine and guanfacine. These medicines are often used in combination with other medications to manage ADHD.
Another type of drug that is sometimes used to treat ADHD is antidepressants. These drugs work by increasing the level of dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain.
These medicines may cause tics, such as eye blinking or throat clearing, which are harmless. They may also lower growth in some children and adolescents who take them, although it won’t affect their final height. They can also increase blood pressure or heart rate, but they’re usually not dangerous. They’re safe when used as directed and when you have a doctor’s supervision.
ADHD in Adults
Adults who have undiagnosed ADHD may not realize it until they start experiencing difficulties with schoolwork, work, relationships and other aspects of life. These problems can be serious and have a long-lasting impact on the individual’s health, career, finances and quality of life.
When a person with ADHD is unable to focus and pay attention, it can lead to mistakes. They may forget deadlines, forget social plans, miss appointments and even fail to remember their own birthdays and anniversaries.
A person with ADHD also can be highly impulsive. This can cause them to rush into situations without considering their own safety, take risks that could be dangerous and engage in other potentially harmful behaviors.
This can be difficult to detect because ADHD symptoms in adults are typically more subtle than those in children. For example, hyperactivity and impulsivity in kids often come across as disruptive and restless, whereas adult ADHD might simply seem hurried and anxious.
ADHD is a common condition that can affect people of all ages. However, it is more common in children than adults. It is estimated that more than 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and that the number is growing.
Medications used to treat ADHD work by increasing the levels of certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that play a role in attention and behavior. These neurotransmitters include dopamine and norepinephrine.
Stimulants, which are usually used in combination with other treatments such as education and skills training, have been proven to be effective for most children and adults diagnosed with ADHD. Methylphenidate is the most common type of stimulant, but other medicines may also be prescribed.
In most cases, your doctor will start with a low dose of medication and gradually increase it at 3-7 day intervals until you reach a “target” or “titration” dosage that works best for you. Taking too much of the medication can make you feel sick, anxious, restless or have trouble sleeping.
If you’re taking a short-acting stimulant, you’ll need to take it regularly – or at least as often as you can. This will help you avoid the “crash” or “rebound effect” that can occur if you suddenly stop taking your medicine.
There are also nonstimulants that work to reduce some of the core symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity and inattention. Atomoxetine (brand name Strattera) and bupropion (brand name Vyvanse) are two examples of these medications.
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One of my big dreams growing up was to become a doctor but because I had ADHD and dyslexia a lot of people did not think this was possible.
But that did not stop me!
In this video I share the truth about how I survived medical school with having ADHD & dyslexia. I share the strategies that helped my ADHD brain focus through the grueling medical classes that I had to take. I hope you can find these helpful for you if you are in college, high school or even in medical school.