What is ADHD?
ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition typically diagnosed during adolescence. Worldwide, 13.6% of adolescents and 2.8% of adults have ADHD, with the percentage of adults increasing in recent years. Additionally, boys are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Though there isn’t an officially identified reason why someone may have ADHD, it seems to be hereditary, linked to premature birth or low birth weight, and is more common in people with learning difficulties (Danielson et al., 2018).
ADHD vs ADD
There are actually three subcategories of ADHD, including primarily inattentive, primarily hyperactive-impulsive, and combined inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive. Though ADHD and ADD can be confused with each other, ADD refers specifically to the primarily inattentive side of ADHD, meaning symptoms don’t include hyperactivity or impulsivity. Those with ADD may be perceived as having lower energy and as being unengaged with certain tasks.
Symptoms of ADHD
There are two main identifying behavioral problems that manifest from ADHD: hyperactivity and inattentiveness. The main characteristics of hyperactivity include excessive physical movement, restlessness, impatience, inability to concentrate, or impulsivity.
Cognitive symptoms may include being easily distracted, forgetful, losing focus, or having trouble keeping attention for long periods of time. Some may experience “brain fog,” lack of mental clarity, and feelings of confusion occurring throughout the day.
Mood symptoms that manifest due to ADHD may be increased anxiety, depression, anger or being short-tempered, and boosts of excitement. These feelings may be prolonged or occur in mood swings.
Behavioral differences of ADHD can look different for children versus adults. Daily activities may be challenging for children, like getting ready for outings or school, being organized, or listening and following directions. For adults, most symptoms affect task management, including increased impulsivity, difficulty completing tasks and managing time, and trouble following through on instructions.
These symptoms can significantly impact both personal and professional lives, including school, work, relationships, and even household tasks. Deadlines for work, assignments in school, daily chores, and emotional connections may be more difficult to maintain and will require more focus.
One of the most common ways to treat severe cases of ADHD is with prescribed medication. However, there are other options for those with lesser effects of ADHD. Non-medical ways to help ADHD include having a well-balanced diet and regular exercise, while taking vitamins or minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium among others may help if there is a deficiency. It is important to remember these practices are not a cure, but a way to curb some side effects of ADHD. One of the most proactive ways to address ADHD is to be aware of different symptoms and how they will impact individual lives. Addressing ADHD is imperative for living a quality, focused life.
Danielson, Melissa L., et al. “Prevalence of Parent-Reported ADHD Diagnosis and Associated Treatment Among U.S. Children and Adolescents, 2016.” Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, vol. 47, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 199–212. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2017.1417860.
“Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” Nhs.Uk, 1 June 2018, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/.
ADHD | Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/adhd. Accessed 10 Nov. 2022.
ADD vs ADHD: What’s the Difference In Symptoms, Treatment? https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/add-vs-adhd/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2022.