An Overview of ADHD
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
ADHD is a disorder that begins in childhood but can continue into adulthood. The major symptoms of ADHD are difficulty sustaining attention, distractibility, impulsivity, and, can also include hyperactivity. It is important to note here that not all ADHD children exhibit hyperactivity; in fact, some can actually be hypoactive.
Today, ADHD is understood as a disorder of the brain. Parts of the brain, for example the frontal lobe, may not be functioning well and certain brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters might be lacking; notably dopamine. This brain dysfunction leads to deficits in the child’s thought patterns, behaviors, and normal emotional functioning.
Some children with ADHD can be predominantly Inattentive. The key symptoms in the predominantly inattentive type are:
- Failing to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
- Having difficulty sustaining attention
- Not appearing to listen
- Struggling to follow through with instructions
- Having difficulty with organization
- Avoiding or disliking tasks requiring sustained mental effort
- Losing things
- Being easily distracted
- Forgetful in daily activities
A second type of ADHD is called be predominantly hyperactive – impulsive type
The symptoms of this type are as follows:
- Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair
- Has difficulty remaining seated
- Runs about or climbs excessively in children; extreme restlessness in adults
- Difficulty engaging in activities quietly
- Acts as if driven by a motor; adults will often feel inside as if they are driven by a motor
- Talks excessively
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Difficulty waiting or taking turns Interrupts or intrudes upon others
A third type is referred to as a combined presentation. Here the individual meets the criteria for both presentations which may change over time as the child gets older. Here, the individual meets the criteria for both inattention and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD presentations.
In all three types, the symptoms may range from mild to severe. Children with ADHD often have other disorders as well such as learning disorders, poor social skills, anxiety and depressive disorders. These problems will become worse if left untreated.
Individuals with ADHD often do poorly in school and present unique and challenging discipline problems for both their parents and their teachers. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to more severe personality disorders, lifelong feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem, poor job performance and perhaps most importantly disturbances in their relationships.
ADHD in Adulthood A third to a half of children with ADHD will grow up to still have the disorder. In adolescence ADHD behaviors can become more deleterious to the child’s life. For example, they may demonstrate more risky behaviors when driving as well as in their sexual behaviors. There are increased pregnancy and STD risks. They are more prone to substance abuse and academic failure. Eating disorders are not infrequent. Personality disorders may develop during adolescence which are serious and have further consequences on the individual’s life.
ADHD among adults is not infrequent and can wreak havoc in the life of an otherwise normal adult. Adults with ADHD often lag in normal developmental milestones such as developing competency in their social skills and achieving independent living. They can have anger management issues and can experience mood swings, anxiety disorders and mood disorders. Job performance is often compromised as well as difficulties in marriage and parenting.
Here, at LoveLife Family Counseling, we treat ADHD using several research proven techniques. We use extensive diagnostic testing to confirm the diagnosis and to find out if there are other comorbid disorders. We then carefully designed a treatment plan which targets at first the most severe symptoms. Through both family and individual counseling, we teach parents how to use behavior modification techniques to properly parent these uniquely challenging children as well as to teach them how to recognize and utilize their special gifts and talents. And through cognitive behavioral therapy, we guide the child into self-managing their own behavior and dysfunctional thinking patterns which can arise in children and adults with ADHD. We also collaborate with the child’s teachers and child study team’s so that your child can meet the challenges of a normal school setting.
Parents and individuals with ADHD may also take advantage of our small group support and on-site workshops in parenting ADHD children.
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