ADHD represents the most prevalent disorder among children between the ages of 3 and 17 in the United States. In fact, 11% of children in the US between that age range have ADHD. While the disorder is predominantly diagnosed in children, ADHD is non-discriminatory, which means it can affect people of any race, IQ, or age. ADHD affects the everyday lives of those who have the disorder, and the effects are anything but superficial. However, it is hard to diagnose because someone must exhibit up to 6 symptoms of the disorder to be classified as ADHD. Mostly, ADHD is recognized as a real, psychological, and genetic disorder.
Knowing the Disorder
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is a catch-all term, but the disorder has several subtypes that can be combined, making each individual’s condition slightly different. In someone with the disorder, the effects can range from forgetfulness to lack of control over behavior. Those who experience symptoms of ADHD have explained that it is like not having an off switch in their brain. Yet, others have said that it feels like there is a massive river of information constantly flowing, and they must struggle to use and make sense of it all.
Those in this category show six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, and fewer than six symptoms of inattentiveness.
Symptoms of Hyperactivity:
● Difficulty performing tasks quietly
● Always in motion
● Trouble sitting still
● Constant fidgeting
● Talks excessively
Symptoms of Impulsivity:
● Interrupts conversations
● Shows emotion without restraint
● Has difficulty taking turns
Those in this category show six or more symptoms of inattention and fewer than six signs of hyperactivity. This group can be harder to diagnose because they are less likely to act out.
Symptoms of Inattention:
● Often switches between tasks
● Forgets things
● Easily distracted
● Daydream and become easily confused
● Difficulty focusing on one task or idea
● Trouble following directions
● Becomes bored within minutes on tasks, especially with unenjoyable ones
● Seems to not listen when spoken to
● Has problems quickly and correctly processing information
● Has trouble organizing tasks
● Struggles to follow through on assignments
Combined Hyperactive-Impulsive and Inattentive
Those in this category show six or more previously listed symptoms of both hyperactivity and inattention. Most people diagnosed with ADHD have this combined type.
Tactics that Help People with ADHD
One of the most effective ways to help someone with ADHD is to create organization where there typically is not. For instance, having a specific place where everything belongs and should be returned to. Another tool is to have a physical planner where tasks and ideas can be written down and referred to. People with ADHD do well with clear and consistent expectations and rules. A schedule for every hour of the day allows those with the disorder to transition more smoothly through the day’s activities; it is also helpful if that schedule is consistent every day. Those with ADHD often receive criticism so they respond greatly to praises and rewards for behavior and performance.
Ultimately, as with any disorder, proper diagnosis and treatment can go a long way toward allowing someone to live a normal life. If you think you or someone you know might be suffering from ADHD, please contact Dr. Anthony Termine. Dr. Termine has been in private practice for over 15 years and is located in SoHo in New York City.