6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. That’s nearly 10% of American children, and it likely accounts for only a fraction of cases.
Many adults have ADHD, but they have not received a formal diagnosis.
What exactly is ADHD, and what are its symptoms? How can a child and an adult receive a diagnosis? What are some treatment options for adults?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition. Doctors are not sure what causes it, though genetics may be one. Children who have a parent with ADHD are more likely to have ADHD themselves.
As the name suggests, ADHD impacts how someone pays attention to things and performs on tasks. They may have difficulty remembering details or following instructions. They may struggle with sitting still or waiting for a period of time without jumping up.
The disorder is not a mental illness. People with ADHD can have skills in a number of areas, and some may be capable and intelligent professionals. Yet it can affect how a child learns and how an adult performs at work.
Some people have a naturally low attention span. Others have issues with sensory and motor processing. These people may not have ADHD, as ADHD is a chronic condition that can be diagnosable at a young age.
ADHD can present in people in a multitude of ways. Symptoms can change through time, though most people express them before their adolescence.
The symptoms of ADHD do overlap with other conditions. People with autism spectrum disorder may show similar signs. For someone to have ADHD, they must show multiple symptoms from two separate sets.
Most people with the disorder lose their attention when they are completing a task. They may lose their attention by daydreaming or talking to other people.
When the person is paying attention, they may not complete a task perfectly. They may skip steps in a sequence or they lose things that they need, including wallets and keys.
Most people show difficulty making productive decisions. They may take risks that they shouldn’t take, or they may pursue temptations. They may skip turns in a game, possibly without realizing that someone is next to act.
Some people may fidget in their seats or toy with objects like pencils. They may get out of their seat and run around, or they may express how restless they feel.
Someone may give an answer to a question before the other person is done talking. They may also interrupt someone else in the middle of the conversation to say something.
There is no blood or clinical test that diagnoses ADHD. A doctor will perform an evaluation on a person.
For young people, the doctor will gather information from their parents. The doctor may ask them questions about how the person behaves and expresses themselves. When treating adults, the doctor will ask the person directly how they are feeling.
Some doctors will examine the person’s family history. They will trace any genetic disorders that may be causing their symptoms.
They will also conduct tests that assess the individual’s cognition and achievements. This rules out other conditions like a learning disability. Most people with ADHD have good cognition but weak attention.
A doctor may be able to diagnose ADHD after one or two meetings. They can diagnose adults, though childhood diagnoses are more common.
There is no cure for ADHD. But a person can receive treatment that lets them attend classes and hold down a job.
Most forms of psychotherapy involve one-on-one sessions between an individual and a therapist. The two talk about how the individual is doing and come up with strategies to deal with the person’s symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most popular forms of adult ADHD treatment. An individual identifies negative thought patterns that distract them and cause them to misbehave. With their therapist, they work on replacing those thought patterns with positive ones that encourage good actions.
Someone can receive adult ADHD treatment while also receiving depression treatment. A therapist can talk about experiences with multiple conditions during a single therapy session.
Life skills classes help people with ADHD develop skills at their level. They learn how to do common tasks like cooking meals without assistance or distraction.
As a person takes more classes, their skills progress. They learn how to manage their time with timers and written schedules. They develop tools they can use for organizing their belongings like a “launching pad” that stores their keys and cell phone.
Attending a support group can help a person on several levels. It can help someone with adult ADHD see that they are not alone. They can tell their story and get affirmation from other people.
It can also help them make friends. All people in a support group for ADHD treatment for adults have the disorder themselves. They can use their mutual experience to foster personal relationships with each other.
Anyone can find a support group near them. They can research “ADHD treatment near me” and get more details.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts how a person pays attention and performs tasks. Signs include an inability to follow instructions and overall jumpiness.
Diagnosis can be tricky because ADHD symptoms overlap with other conditions. But adults can receive help, even at an advanced age.
They can receive talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and life skills training. Support groups are also available so people can learn from each other.
Turn to the experts. First Light Recovery helps people with ADHD in Orange County and the San Juan Capistrano area. Contact us today.