What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD is a mental illness that is often first identified in school-aged children when it causes disruption in the classroom effecting their performance and grades. While some children seem to outgrow the disorder, or learn to compensate for the symptoms.
Types of ADHD:
- Inattentive type: Deficits in attention and organization. This is also commonly called Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD.
- Hyperactive type: Some present only the hyperactive and impulsive symptoms.
- Combined type: The Third, and most commonly identified group consists of thosepeople who have difficulties with attention and hyperactivity, also known as combined type.
The child with ADHD often wants to be a good student, the impulsive behavior and difficulty paying attention in class frequently interferes and causes problems.
Any child may show inattention, distractibility, impulsivity, or hyperactivity at times, but the child with ADHD shows these symptoms and behaviors more frequently and severely than other children of the same age or developmental level. ADHD occurs in 3- 5% of school age children. ADHD typically begin in childhood but can continue into adulthood. ADHD runs in families with about 25% of biological parents also having this medical condition.
A child with ADHD may also have other psychiatric disorders such as conduct disorder, anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, or bipolar disorder. These children may also have learning disabilities. Without appropriate treatment, the child may fall behind in schoolwork, and friendships may suffer.
In 1980s mental health professionals started to recognize that ADHD could persist in adults.
Some adults whose ADHD is left untreated may experience negative consequences including high incidence of substance abuse and automobile accidents, and difficulty staying employed and maintaining relationships.
Many adults with ADHD have developed skills to compensate for their distractibility. Some excel in school at an early age and don’t run into any problems until college/ grad school or starting at a challenging new job. Suddenly, their coping mechanisms are not as effective anymore.
Adult ADHD can be comorbid with anxiety, depression, substance abuse or bipolar disorder – further complicating diagnosis and treatment.
For adults diagnosed with the condition, treatment can consist of behavioral therapy, medication, or both.
People who think they may have ADHD should be evaluated by a mental health professional.