Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning. Occasional inattention or difficulties with concentration are expected and natural. However, it may be considered a disorder once the impairment persists and interferes with social, academic, occupational (work), or other important areas of functioning. 

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Where does it come from?

At this time, ADHD is thought to be a neurodevelopmental disorder which means the condition starts during the developmental period (typically before starting elementary school). However, growing research and discussions are recognizing ADHD in adults (without specific history of ADHD in childhood). Some researchers even suggest that "the difference between childhood-onset and adult-onset ADHD could be whether the difficulties in adaptation that are characteristic of neurodevelopmental disorders occur in childhood or adulthood." In other words, if someone is at risk of developing ADHD, then it may depend on if they experience triggers in childhood or adulthood for when ADHD symptoms then present.

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Symptoms of ADHD

Inattention:
 

  • Difficulties giving close attention to details or making careless mistakes

  • Trouble staying focused on tasks

  • Not appearing to listen when spoke to directly

  • Often starting tasks but getting easily sidetracked

  • Troubles with organizing and prioritizing different tasks

  • Feeling reluctant to engage in tasks that require a lot of focus

  • Easily losing things like phone or wallet

  • Easily distracted by noises or thoughts

  • Forgetful in daily activities like chores or remembering appointments

Image by Nubelson Fernandes

Hyperactivity:
 

  • Frequently fidgeting

  • Getting up in situations where you're expected to remain seated

  • Feeling restless or moving around a lot

  • Difficulty playing or doing certain activities quietly

  • Uncomfortable sitting still for extended periods of time or being described as "difficult to keep up with"

  • Often talks excessively

  • Blurting out answers or responses before the speak is done talking 

  • Having difficulty waiting in line or for one's turn

  • Interrupting others when they are busy or using other people's things without asking

Image by Hans-Peter Gauster

For some, there are more symptoms of hyperactivity or more symptoms of inattention. However, for others there can be presentations where there is a combination of both. 

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It is important to understand that ADHD may not be very well understood still. ADHD can have overlapping symptoms with other mental disorders or mimic symptoms when environmental factors are suboptimal, like poor sleep.

While medication is often highly recommended, therapy is often highly beneficial for ADHD to learn ways to manage it. 

 

Getting easily distracted or restless can be common, especially in times of high stress. However, major impairment due to these symptoms into different aspects of one's life is not healthy and can easily become your new normal without even realizing it. 

Seeking therapy or treatment for ADHD can be life-changing.

Check back for more information coming soon!