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What is ADHD?

What is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by patterns of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention that impact an individual's functioning and development.

Symptoms of ADHD can be observed as early as 3 years old and can persist through adolescence and adulthood. Behavior patterns linked to ADHD become more recognizable when a child's environment shifts, like starting school. In some cases, symptomatic behavior is interpreted as an emotional outburst or lack of discipline, which can cause a delay in diagnosis.

 

There are three major types of ADHD

  • Inattentive 
  • Hyperactive-impulsive
  • Combined

 

Inattentive

Defined by a difficulty in completing tasks, maintaining focus, paying attention to details, and organizing belongings.

Some examples of inattention are:

  1. Missing important events or deadlines
  2. Difficulty focusing in class or in conversations
  3. Avoiding activities that required sustained mental effort
  4. Misplacing important belongings due to disorganization

     

    Hyperactive

    Characterized by excessive movement, fidgeting, and difficulty staying still.

    Some examples of hyperactivity are:

    1. Being unable to stay seated for long periods
    2. Persistent feelings of restlessness
    3. Finding it difficult to wait in line
    4. Talking excessively
    5. Needing to be in constant motion

     

      Impulsive

      Defined by a difficulty in delaying gratification or exhibiting self-control when faced with temptations or rewards. An impulsive individual may jump into a venture or a path without considering its effects in the future.

       Some examples of impulsive behavior are:

      1. Interrupting conversations
      2. Frequently responding without being asked
      3. Making inappropriate remarks
      4. Impatience
      5. Acting out of turn

       

      ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which means that it may affect an individual's ability to learn, remember information, think and reason, or perform daily activities.

      Many adults showing signs and symptoms of ADHD are undiagnosed. This causes difficulties when demands increase in their professional and personal lives. When left untreated, ADHD can impair their performance at work, how they show up in relationships, and how they cope with other difficulties in their lives.

      An official diagnosis of ADHD can only be made by a clinical psychologist. This usually occurs when disruptive behavioral patterns affect daily functioning, are persistent, and cause a delay in development compared to people of the same age.

      The exact cause of the disorder has yet to be identified. However, a mix of the following factors may contribute to ADHD diagnosis:

      1. Genetics
      2. Brain function & structure
      3. Environmental factors

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