Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Dr. Fiona Desira (DClinPsy, CPsychol)

Clinical Psychologist

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders. Key symptoms relate to difficulties with attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity). Recent estimates suggest that 11% of American children aged 4-18 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Historically, ADHD was considered a childhood disorder. However, new understanding demonstrates that it can persist throughout adolescence into adulthood. 4.1% of American adults are now considered to present with ADHD. While the disorder can affect both males and females, rates are four times higher in males.

ADHD can affect many aspects of a persons life, Academic and work performance can be impacted upon markedly by difficulties with attention and concentration. Social relationships can also be impacted upon by impulsive and hyperactive behaviors. However, with appropriate support, many people with ADHD achieve great success.

Currently interventions focus on reduction of symptoms of ADHD and improving levels of functioning. Treatments include medication, various types of psychotherapy, psycho-education or training, or a combination of interventions

 

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD:

Inattentiveness

  • Poor attention to details
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Has difficulties staying focused, resulting in easy distraction
  • Appears not to listen when spoken to
  • Has difficulty remembering things and following instructions
  • Has difficulties staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
  • Gets bored with a task before its completed
  • Has difficulties completing tasks
  • Frequently loses or misplaces homework, books, toys, or other items

Hyperactivity

  • Constantly fidgets and squirms
  • Often leaves his or her seat in situations where sitting quietly is expected
  • Moves around constantly, often runs or climbs inappropriately
  • Talks excessively
  • Has difficulty playing quietly or relaxing
  • Is always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor

Impulsivity

  • Blurting out comments at inappropriate times
  • May have a quick temper or a “short fuse”
  • Interrupting conversations or speaking out of turn
  • Difficulties waiting for a turn or standing in line
  • Engaging in ‘dangerous’ behaviors without consideration of possible consequences
  • Not adequately checking work, resulting in careless errors.

How can parents help?