Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a complex brain disorder that affects around 11% of children and almost 5% of adults in the United States1. ADHD is a developmental disorder that affects the executive processes of the brain. Impulse control, focusing, and planning are all issues for people with ADHD.
We can learn a few things from neuroscience, brain imaging, and clinical research: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a behavioural disorder. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a mental illness. ADHD isn't a distinct type of learning problem. Instead, ADHD is a developmental impairment of the brain’s self-management system. Both adults and children can be diagnosed with ADHD.
What Causes ADHD?
The reasons of ADHD are yet unknown. According to research, genetics and heredity have a significant role in predicting who develops ADHD. Scientists are still looking into whether specific genes, particularly those connected to the neurotransmitter dopamine, have a role in the development of ADHD.
According to additional study, some substances may raise a child's risk of developing ADHD.
ADHD is not caused by bad parenting, excessive sugar consumption, or playing too many video games. ADHD is a biological illness that affects the brain. Many physiological changes in the brains of people with ADHD have been discovered via brain imaging investigations and other research.
Common ADHD symptoms include:
lack of focus
poor time management
weak impulse control
ADHD symptoms vary by individual. You or your child may experience all or just some of the above symptoms, along with others detailed in the DSM-V.
Many patients and clinicians describe ADHD as an iceberg, where most symptoms lay hiding under the surface — out of sight but ever present. If you think you or a loved one might have ADHD, take one of our free, anonymous tests below to see if you should seek a formal diagnosis.
What Are the 3 Types of ADHD?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)2 previously identified three types of ADHD:
Primarily hyperactive-impulsive type
Primarily inattentive type (formerly called ADD)
Primarily combined type
Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
People with primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD act “as if driven by a motor” with little impulse control — moving, squirming, and talking at even the most inappropriate times. They are impulsive, impatient, and interrupt others.
Primarily Inattentive ADHD (Formerly ADD)
People with the inattentive subtype of ADHD have difficulty focusing, finishing tasks, and following instructions. They are easily distracted and forgetful. They may be daydreamers who lose track of homework, cell phones, and conversations with regularity.
Experts believe that many children with the inattentive subtype of ADHD may go undiagnosed because they do not tend to disrupt the learning environment.
[Free Download: An In-Depth Guide to Inattentive ADHD]
Primarily Combined Type ADHD
Individuals with combined-type ADHD display a mixture of all the symptoms outlined above. A physician will diagnose patients with this Combined Type ADHD, of they meet the guidelines for Primarily Inattentive ADHD and Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD. That is, they must exhibit 6 of the 9 symptoms identified for each sub-type.
HOW IS ADHD DIAGNOSED?
There is no single medical, physical, or genetic test for ADHD. However, a diagnostic evaluation can be provided by a qualified mental health care professional or physician who gathers information from multiple sources. These include ADHD symptom checklists, standardized behavior rating scales, a detailed history of past and current functioning, and information obtained from family members or significant others who know the person well. ADHD cannot be diagnosed accurately just from brief office observations, or just by talking to the person. The person may not always exhibit the symptoms of ADHD in the office, and the diagnostician needs to take a thorough history of the individual’s life. A diagnosis of ADHD must include consideration of the possible presence of co-occurring conditions.
Clinical guidelines for diagnosis of ADHD are provided in the American Psychiatric Association diagnostic manual commonly referred to as the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision). These established guidelines are widely used in research and clinical practice. During an evaluation, the clinician will try to determine the extent to which these symptoms apply to the individual now and since childhood.