Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood and lasts into adulthood. Sometimes, ADHD is diagnosed for the first time in adolescence or adulthood; however, the symptoms of the disorder must have been present earlier in the person's life for the diagnosis to be made.
There are three types of ADHD, each with different symptoms: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, and combined. Most people living with ADHD have a combination of the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.
People with predominantly inattentive ADHD often:
- Fail to pay close attention to details or make careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
- Struggle to sustain attention to tasks or leisure activities
- Do not seem to listen when addressed directly
- Do not follow instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
- Experience difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Avoid, dislike, or express reluctance about engaging in tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Lose things necessary for tasks or activities
- Forget details about daily activities and are easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
People with predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD often:
- Squirm in their seats or fidget with their hands or feet
- Leave their seats when expected to remain still
- Move excessively or feel restless during situations in which such behaviour is inappropriate
- Experience difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Talk excessively and blurt out answers before questions have been completed
- Find it difficult to wait their turn; interrupt others
How is ADHD treated?
Stimulant medication is effective in most cases to help reduce (often dramatically) the signs and symptoms of ADHD. Psychotherapy (which may include Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy) is employed to help improve time management and organizational skills, develop more effective problem-solving strategies, and enhance self-esteem.