What does ADHD look like in children?
ADHD is predominantly diagnosed in childhood, although many symptoms of ADHD are often initially attributed to normal childhood behavior. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. Children with ADHD present with hyperactive behavior, habitual forgetfulness, difficulty completing certain tasks, and lack of organization, and these signs and symptoms become more and more evident when the child begins to have difficulty succeeding in school. Teachers will often report poor academic performance and excessively hyperactive and impulsive behavior, such as daydreaming during class, squirming in their seats, talking excessively, making careless mistakes, and difficulty getting along with classmates. They can also spend an excessive amount of time on electronics and have difficulty shifting their attention away from electronics. For proper diagnosis in children, symptoms must be persistently present between the ages of 6 to 12 and occur in more than one environment. Undiagnosed children suffering from ADHD often report feeling frustrated and unhappy in school, and often proceed to suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and other negative emotions. While ADHD is diagnosed mainly in children, it can last into adulthood.
ADHD can be divided into two categories: inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive. Children with inattention get easily distracted(e.g electronics). They can miss homework or make careless mistakes on tests. These children can also be forgetful about turning in homework assignments. Children struggling with inattentive ADHD often also complain of “being bored.” They also struggle often with completing homework. Parents can get frustrated when their child appears to be not listening when the child is struggling with inattentive ADHD. Teachers will sometimes complain that children with ADHD don’t follow instructions well.
Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsiveness are displayed as excessive fidgeting or squirming, talking non-stop, being constantly in motion, having trouble sitting still during school, work, or dinner, being impatient, blurting out inappropriate comments, becoming emotional without restraint, acting without regard for consequences, and interrupting others.
Around two-thirds of children with symptoms from early childhood continue to demonstrate ADHD symptoms into adulthood. Most adults who go undiagnosed eventually develop coping mechanisms over the years to disguise their symptoms, which is why around 85% of adults who have ADHD remain undiagnosed and untreated. Signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults are similar to those of children, including procrastination, difficulty focusing on a certain task or maintaining a conversation, indecision, poor time management, restlessness, excessive talking, and difficulty multitasking. Frequently adults with ADHD will suffer from co-existing conditions such as depression or anxiety. Some adults with ADHD can also suffer from co-morbid addiction, drug abuse, excessive gambling, and sexual addiction. Untreated ADHD can have a significant on important relationships and marriage.
Treatment of ADHD, for children and adults alike, is multi-faceted, requiring a combination of medication and behavioral and cognitive interventions. There is also a focus on exercise, sleep habits, meditation, coaching, lifestyle changes, and family counseling. During school years, children can be helped by accommodations through an individualized education plan(IEP) or a 504 plan. Alternative treatment approaches such as neurofeedback and cerebellar stimulation in research trials have shown some benefit. Treatment is longitudinal and should be provided long-term, as ADHD does not go away completely. However, with medication and therapy, symptoms can be controlled, allowing the clients to live very successful and comfortable lives.
There are multiple types of ADHD medications that are used. Dr. Memon is a child psychiatrist, adult psychiatrist, and addiction psychiatrist. Depending on the preferences of the family and the individual, we utilize a wide range of treatments. Some of the families prefer to use evidence-based vitamins for ADHD treatment. Other people prefer to use prescription medications. Dr. Memon and our doctors also discuss extensive non-medication strategies to help patients with ADHD succeed.
Do I have ADHD?
ADHD is a clinical diagnosis, meaning you have to make an appointment to get a real answer. However, most people in their early childhood were diagnosed with ADHD. Oftentimes, girls are missed in their childhood for ADHD. To determine whether you have adult ADHD, we need to take an extensive medical and mental health history, as well as give you scientifically validated instruments to diagnose your ADHD. Many things can mask ADHD including clinical depression, anxiety, and certain medical conditions. The diagnostic process for children is more complex but similar to adults. To diagnose children with ADHD a detailed medical history and psychiatric history have to be taken, along with using validated scientific instruments to confirm the ADHD diagnosis.
Does my child have ADHD?
Many other medical conditions can look like ADHD. A child can have one or more conditions that look like ADHD. The child can also have many conditions in addition to ADHD. It is important to talk with a psychiatrist regarding a potential diagnosis. Some of these medical conditions include:
- Sensory processing disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)
- Anxiety Disorders
- Depressive Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)/Concussions
- Sleep disorder
- Abuse – verbal, emotional, physical, sexual
What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?
The definition of the term ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. The term ADHD is in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual V(DSM V) to cover the 3 types of ADHD that exist: hyperactive, inattentive, and combined type ADHD.
There is no such term as “ADD” in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual V. The term used to describe a non-hyperactive attention deficit disorder the DSM V uses the term ADHD, inattentive type. So while there is an “H” in ADHD, inattentive type there is no actual hyperactivity in diagnostic criteria for ADHD, inattentive type.
What if the psychiatrist can’t diagnose me with adult ADHD at the first visit?
Sometimes the diagnosis of ADHD requires a further workup. After your initial meeting, you can be referred to a neuropsychologist for further evaluation if the diagnosis of ADHD is not clear at your initial meeting. A battery of testing is done to measure brain circuits for ADHD. Testing includes:
- Response Inhibition
- Working Memory
- Emotional Control
- Task Initiation
- Sustained Attention
- Time Management
- Goal-Directed Persistence
- Stress Tolerance
For an evaluation by an ADHD, specialist make an appointment by calling us at 609-601-4161