Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is one of the most common mental health disorders today. Between 7% and 10% of children worldwide and around 2% to 5% of adults experience ADHD. Perhaps the most telltale sign of ADHD is one’s inability to pay attention or keep up with their tasks. For children, this can significantly impact their academic performance and social lives. For adults, this can adversely affect their ability to complete career training, pursue their desired profession, and even life at home. Our Tampa ADHD Psychologists know how serious this condition can be and want to provide some important information about it.
What Causes ADHD?
A definitive cause of ADHD has yet to be determined. However, research into the condition continues. Three potential factors are believed to be responsible:
The condition may be hereditary and passed onto children from adults who have ADHD or another mental health issue.
Biological issues such as problems with the central nervous system during development or premature births may be potential causes.
Specific environmental problems, like lead exposure, are a possible cause.
Signs of ADHD in Children
Children with ADHD typically begin to show signs of the disorder between ages 3 and 12. Sometimes minor symptoms become more problematic when demands at school increase. Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. For many people diagnosed as children, the condition continues into adulthood. It’s diagnosed more in boys than girls, and behaviors can vary depending on the gender. Boys tend to be more hyperactive, while girls exhibit greater inattentiveness.
The three subtypes of ADHD:
- Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive: As the name suggests, children diagnosed with this type are extremely overactive, restless and fidgety, and behave impulsively.
- Predominantly Inattentive: Children diagnosed with this type have difficulty managing their attention, levels of effort, and concentration and could be both forgetful and disorganized.
- Combined Type: This is the most common subtype found in the United States. It is a mixture of both hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive behaviors.
- Those with ADHD cannot pay close attention to the details of class lessons or make careless mistakes in schoolwork and homework. ADHD symptoms can also include being unable to organize activities or tasks.
- Those with ADHD are easily or constantly distracted.
- Those with ADHD often misplace essential items, such as school materials like pencils, notebooks, or rulers.
- Those with ADHD often have trouble maintaining focus in class or physical play.
- Those with ADHD appear not to be paying attention when someone speaks to them.
- Those with ADHD often fidget or squirm at their desks.
- Those with ADHD are often unable to follow instructions and complete schoolwork, homework, or house chores.
Signs of ADHD in Adults
One of the biggest misconceptions about ADHD is that it only affects children. While signs of the disorder may have been present in childhood, many adults were not diagnosed with ADHD when they were children. Symptoms of the condition in adults can include:
- Trouble with organizing, planning, multitasking, prioritizing, and coping with stress
- Inability to manage time
- Missing or forgetting important dates
- Impulsiveness and restlessness
- Often becoming frustrated
- Mood swings
- Being easily irritable
Some adults with ADHD show fewer symptoms as they age, but this is not always the case. Some adults’ symptoms may be so severe that they interfere with their daily functioning. One essential thing to remember is that some adults with ADHD may not even be aware that they have it.
Myths About ADHD
Given the fictional portrayals we’ve seen in movies or on television, it’s no surprise that there are many myths and inaccuracies concerning ADHD. We want to clear the air by providing some facts from our Tampa ADHD Psychologists. Let’s go over a few of them.
Myth: ADHD only affects children.
Fact: Although most people diagnosed with ADHD are children, adults can also deal with the disorder. In fact, as children with the disorder age, their symptoms can often change as well.
Myth: ADHD isn’t a real disorder.
Fact: ADHD is one of the most researched disorders in behavioral science. Cases can be so severe that it inhibits children and adults to the point that they have difficulty in every facet of their lives, from maintaining their attention on tasks to forgetting important details.
Myth: Children are being over-diagnosed with ADHD.
Fact: Although the number of children diagnosed with the disorder increases at a rate of about 5% (according to the National Survey of Children’s Health) each year, this increase is due in part to behavioral experts better understanding the condition and identifying symptoms.
Myth: ADHD is the result of poor parenting.
Fact: As we mentioned above, although the root cause of ADHD has yet to be determined, poor parenting is not one of them. Causes can range from genetics, the environment, or even complications during development.
Myth: Adults with ADHD are just lazy.
Fact: As with children, ADHD in adults can result in them being unable to keep track of their responsibilities or work. It isn’t that an adult with the condition who isn’t completing his/her tasks is being lazy; it’s that they are having trouble following through with it due to the disorder.
Myth: Adults with ADHD should have an easier time overcoming their condition than children.
Fact: Adults can have just as much difficulty dealing with their condition as children, especially since symptoms can change as they age, sometimes even becoming more severe.
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Although treating ADHD can depend on the severity and the types of symptoms, the overall consensus is that the best way is to combine psycho-social or behavioral treatment and medication. Medication helps manage the brain's functions and symptoms, while treatment can help a patient by providing necessary education about ADHD, creating structure, teaching skills, and providing much-needed feedback and support. Therapy also offers a safe place to express their emotions, thoughts, and worries in dealing with the disorder.
Our psychologists can help you change the way you think about your condition while providing feedback on what can or won’t work for you.
How Can We Help You?
At Rice Psychology Group, we're all about doing what we can with multiple resources at our disposable to help you and your child understand and deal with their condition.Contact Us Today!