Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that is characterized by the sufferer’s inconsistent ability to focus and be composed. Often, this disorder can negatively impact function in adults and development in children. The disorder is marked by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. As a person ages, their symptoms will, too. Any of the three symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity may become more prominent and last into adulthood.
Types of Disorders
Inattention is characterized by lack of persistence and focus when attempting to complete a task. The sufferer may also be disorganized, and their inability to concentrate is not caused by defiance or lack of understanding of the task.
Hyperactivity is when a sufferer compulsively moves around when it is not appropriate for the situation. Movements can include fidgeting, tapping and excessive talking.
Impulsivity means the sufferer cannot control their fight or flight reflex. They may also seek immediate gratification through hasty actions without thinking of the long-term consequences.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There is currently no cure for ADHD. With the right treatment, symptoms can be reduced to increase functioning. Options include medication, psychotherapy and training. All these treatments can be combined. With the right dose of medication, children and adults can focus on learning and performing the tasks in front of them. Stimulants may be used to increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels. These chemicals are essential for thinking and attention. Stimulants may decrease the appetite and increase anxiety. Non-stimulant medications are also available if other health conditions are not compatible with prescription stimulants. However, these types of medications can take longer to work.
An antidepressant might also be prescribed by itself or in combination with a stimulant. These work best in children and adults with pre-existing anxiety. ADHD can negatively impact the family dynamic. Behavioral therapy can help change the behavior of children and adults in supportive sessions. This type of therapy can give sufferers ways to monitor their behavior, acquire positive coping skills and award praise when choosing more positive thoughts and actions.