For decades, many considered ADD and ADHD different sides of the same coin. What is now known is that these two related disorders are actually two of three subtypes of ADHD:
Someone who may have received a diagnosis of ADD in the past would now be considered someone with Primarily Inattentive ADHD. Likewise, those formerly called ADHD now fall under the category of Primarily Hyperactivity-Impulsivity ADHD Combination ADHD refers to those who show some signs of both.
ADHD is a disorder that affects one's ability to concentrate along with one's memory and cognitive functions, ADHD is believed to occur in almost 10 percent of children under 17 and 4.4 percent of adults. While some patients do not receive a diagnosis until later in life, even though they may have symptoms during childhood or adolescence.
ADHD Symptoms in Adults
ADHD can look very different in adults as opposed to children. Symptoms vary from person to person, but in general symptoms include:
ADHD, Inattentive type (Formerly Known as ADD)
Inability to focus on detail in work
Short attention span
inability to focus on speech of others
Faulty executive function
Forgetting common daily tasks
Avoiding tasks that require focus
Losing keys, phones, etc.
Symptoms of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity ADHD
Feelings of restlessness
Inability to relax
Rapid talking, interrupting others
Bad at taking turns
Adults should show five of these symptoms to qualify for diagnosis. A patient can have any combination of the above symptoms, especially in Combination cases.
ADHD Symptoms in Children
Diagnosing ADHD in children is more complex. A mental health professional may loop in teachers, parents, and other caretakers in the diagnostic process. Symptoms in children can include:
Making the same easy mistake in homework
Inability to play with one toy for long periods of time
Detachment when talked to
Refusal to engage in concentration activities
Loses toys and belongings
Continuous interruptions in class
Inappropriate climbing or running
High energy levels
Rapid, continuous speech
Testing for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Diagnosis of ADHD should be done by a trained medical professional. Many turn to online tests to assess their symptoms, but these tests are not medical diagnoses. Anyone looking for help with ADHD needs the help of a trained mental health professional. The diagnostic process includes interviews, written tests, and tasks assigned to the patient and observed by the clinician.
Adults seeking help with ADHD may undergo psychological testing of this sort with a goal of setting up medication as an intervention for the disorder.
There are a wide array of treatments that ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD, though there is no cure at this time. Options include medication, lifestyle changes, therapy, or a combination of any of these treatment options.
A fact that surprises many is that stimulants actually serve as one of the best medications for those with ADHD. In children especially, stimulants have a success rate of 70 to 80 percent.
In the last two decades, doctors have also turned to non-stimulants to help ADHD patients. These medications can be better and safer answers in the long term, though they do not act as quickly as stimulants.
Parents who are hesitant to medicate their children or adults who want to avoid medication have therapeutic interventions to consider, including lifestyle changes and behavioral therapies.
In behavioral therapy, the therapist helps the patient focus on positive behaviors and avoid negative ones. Part of this process involves identifying triggers and helping the patient avoid those triggers. The parents of children with ADHD may need their own behavioral therapy to teach them how to help their child and respond well to problematic behaviors.
Changes to lifestyle that can benefit adults and children alike include:
Creating and adhering to daily itinerary
Reducing distractions at home and in the classroom or at work
Living a healthy lifestyle, including sleeping well, eating well, and getting regular exercise
Maintaining a calendar and agenda