Identifying ADHD SymptomsRead Time: 3 minutes
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a medical condition that is characterized by different chemical balances in the brain. There is not a specific known cause of ADHD. Children and adults with ADHD often have trouble sitting still, paying attention, and can be impulsive. While the condition is not something to be cured, there are ways to effectively manage symptoms to not interfere with daily life.
Most often, ADHD is observed when children are younger. Being fidgety, restless, or interrupting are all common characteristics of children. Most of the time, kids will grow out of these tendencies. For children with ADHD, there are 3 categories where symptoms will continue to show up.
Children with ADHD have trouble focusing on one task. These people may have a difficult time finishing tasks or following instructions. Sometimes these children or adults may seem forgetful or lose track of things.
This category refers to the tendency to be fidgety or restless. These are often children who can’t sit still or have trouble staying quiet. Children with ADHD often act in disruptive ways without meaning to.
People with ADHD often struggle with acting before thinking. This may come out as pushing, grabbing, or being impatient. Children with ADHD may take things without permission or have intense emotional reactions.
While most people with the condition will show some of these signs in childhood, ADHD is not just a condition of children. Many adults also struggle with ADHD. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options. The two main categories of treatments include medications and therapy.
Medication for ADHD
For many people, medications can help to improve focus and reduce impulsivity. In some cases, stimulants will help improve focus by increasing dopamine. Non-stimulants may take longer to take effect than stimulants, but these medications can be an excellent long-term solution. People with ADHD often also benefit from antidepressants because of the increase in dopamine and norepinephrine.
Using therapy alone to treat ADHD is not usually as effective as medication treatment. However, talk therapy can be helpful when used as part of an overall treatment plan. For children, therapy can help in understanding how to break down tasks and stay organized. In adults, therapy may be a helpful tool in learning to establish routines and manage everyday life.
When to see a doctor
There is no single test to diagnose ADHD. Diagnosis will involve a series of conversations and evaluations with a healthcare provider. If attention and focus problems are interfering with daily life, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. A physician can provide diagnosis and treatment options.