Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADD, ADHD) is a developmental and behavioral disorder that affects up to nine percent of all school-age children. Although the condition usually manifests in childhood, it can persist into adulthood, causing difficulties at home, at school, in relationships and at work if not recognized and treated. ADHD affects 30 to 70 percent of adults who had ADHD in childhood.
The symptoms of ADHD include inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity that are inappropriate for a person’s age level. Children who have ADHD often:
- Are easily distracted by sights and sounds in their environment
- Are unable to concentrate for long periods of time
- Are restless and impulsive
- Have a tendency to daydream
- Are slow to complete tasks
- Have difficulty with social skills
There are three types of ADHD. Some children with ADHD show symptoms of inattention and are not hyperactive or impulsive. Others only show symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most, however, show symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.
- Predominantly inattentive type
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type
- Combined type
While the term ADHD is the technically correct term for either of the three types indicated above, in the past the term attention deficit disorder (ADD) was used, and still is by many. For the past ten years ADD and ADHD have been used synonymously in publications and in public policy.
The exact cause of ADHD isn’t known. Experts do know that there are changes in the neurology and brains of people with the condition. Some evidence suggests that drug or alcohol use and other conditions during pregnancy can increase the chances of ADD, but in most cases this is not easy to correlate. ADD is not caused by home or school situations or by poor parenting, though the behavioral difficulties can be worsened by lack of understanding and mismanagement by family members.
Holtz Psychological Services provides several reliable assessments to detect the nature and severity of childhood and adult ADD. It is usually only diagnosed after a child has shown some or all symptoms of ADD on a regular basis for more than six months.
The diagnosis of ADHD usually involves the gathering of information from several sources, including school, caregivers and parents. Psychologists can consider how a child’s behavior compares with that of other children the same age.
Five to Twelve percent of adults in the United States have ADD, also known as ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. As you’ve probably discovered by now, ADD affects every aspect of your life: work, home, and even your social life. Adult Symptoms can include:
- Having mood swings
- Abusing substances
- Putting too many activities on your schedule
- Making a lot of to-do lists and never using them
- Getting lots of speeding tickets
- Having feelings of not living up to your potential
- Chronically procrastinating
- Impulsively taking risks
- Having difficulties finishing projects
- Frequently losing items
- Having a quick temper
- Having problems with organization
- Having a series of marriages
- Impulsively quitting jobs
- Changing jobs frequently
- Lacking friends
- Having difficulties managing money
- Having low self-esteem
- Being underemployed (working below your ability)
- Disliking traffic so much that you will drive of your way to avoid it
- Interrupting people
- Frustration and self-blame for weaknesses
It might surprise you to learn that ADD is not all negative. There are also positive aspects to having ADD, and it is likely that you have these traits as well. People with ADD can have:
- An ability to multitask effectively
- Excellent skills in crisis situations
- A good sense of humor
- The ability to let go of grudges
- A talent for thinking “outside the box”
- The drive to focus on something they are interested in