What Is ADHD?
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental difference that can affect individuals of all ages. ADHD is characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that can interfere with daily tasks and activities.
The symptoms of ADHD can impact an individual’s performance at work, school, or with everyday relationships. There is a lot of stigmatisation surrounding ADHD, it’s crucial to understand better the neurodevelopmental difference, diagnosis process, and treatment plan.
Signs and Symptoms of ADHD
ADHD is complex, which means its symptoms can vary from one individual to another.
However, although ADHD mainly causes symptoms related to the ability to stay focused, people with ADHD may experience further symptoms such as:
- Challenges with paying attention
- Hyperactive impulsive
- Challenges with remembering specific tasks or chores
- Challenges with finishing tasks
- The constant need to move around (finding it challenging to sit still)
- Being easily distracted
- Challenges with waiting for one’s turn (in conversations or activities)
- Challenges with engaging in quiet activities
- Challenges with organising or planning specific tasks or activities
The first signs of ADHD can usually be noticed during early childhood. It’s essential to mention that children might only display a few symptoms; however, in many cases, they progress over time. It is challenging to recognise ADHD symptoms during early childhood because some of the symptoms are behaviours typical for individuals in that phase.
Hence, parents or caregivers should work closely with children during these years to determine whether there is a need for further evaluation. In any case, ADHD is a difference that many individuals live with. It does not affect an individual’s intelligence or ability to succeed in any part of life. With the proper support and treatment plan, individuals with ADHD can live successful and independent lives.
Signs of ADHD in Children
The signs of ADHD in children might vary, but some of the more common signs include:
- Challenges with their attention span
- Challenges with waiting their turn in conversation or activities
- Engage loudly or distributively with others
- Challenges with focus
- Acting without thinking
- Signs of constant fidgeting
- Losing items or being forgetful
- Have a hard time staying in one place
It’s crucial to note that a variety of different factors might cause these signs. Therefore, a professional evaluation is crucial once individuals notice these signs in children.
Signs of ADHD in Teens
As individuals shift from childhood into adolescence, some ADHD symptoms may change. In some cases, new symptoms might arise that were not present before.
Teens with ADHD might portray the following symptoms:
- Challenges with focusing on homework and schoolwork
- Challenges with finishing a task
- Challenges with organisation and planning
- Difficulty keeping quiet
- Forgetting things or personal items
- Challenges with time management
- Challenges with navigating relationships with friends and family
Teens with ADHD might face a unique set of challenges as they start having more responsibilities and go through a phase of emotional development. Hence, it’s crucial to create a safe and positive environment where individuals experiencing some of these symptoms can learn to overcome them and achieve their goals.
Signs of ADHD in Girls
Professionals in the past have considered ADHD a difference primarily affecting males. However, more girls and women are being diagnosed with ADHD today since contemporary diagnoses identify symptoms of ADHD in girls that are slightly different than in boys.
Some of the signs girls with ADHD experience might include the following:
- Challenges with staying focused
- Challenges with motivation
- Excessive daydreaming (might seem uninterested in what others are saying)
- Visible strong emotional responses
- Challenges with managing time and organisation
- Challenges with completing tasks
- Often changing focus from one task to another
- Challenges with academic work
It’s crucial for family members or caregivers to be aware of these differences and recognise the unique set of challenges that girls with ADHD experience. It’s crucial for individuals with ADHD to feel understood, heard, and supported.
What Causes ADHD?
Professionals don’t have a clear answer on what exactly causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Some recent studies found many similarities and differences between people with and without ADHD. The results show that brain development in both cases is similar, but the areas involved in executive function develop longer in individuals with ADHD.
One of the hypotheses on ADHD is that the part of the brain that’s responsible for paying attention might be affected and have a lower level of activity.
The different parts of the brain are connected through a network of neurons, and in people with ADHD, these networks might take a longer time to develop. However, it’s crucial to understand that even these theories aren’t fully developed by healthcare professionals.
There are hypotheses that parental exposure to toxic substances during pregnancy can increase the risk of ADHD development. However, the hypotheses are not proven.
Brain or Head Injury
Children with serious head injuries are more likely to develop secondary deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, research shows that symptoms of ADHD might not develop many years after the injury occurred.
ADHD is diagnosed through an evaluation performed by a healthcare professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist or paediatrician.
The diagnosis usually depends on evaluating results from different sources, such as psychological testing and interviews. A person is usually referred to a specialist, who will undergo an assessment, including interviews, physical assessments, and interviews with caregivers. Furthermore, the healthcare professional will get an overview of the individual’s medical history to additionally rule out other conditions.
While there is no single test that can diagnose ADHD, a healthcare specialist can make an accurate diagnosis through proper assessments.
The treatment for adults and children with ADHD is behaviour therapy, education programmes, and, in some cases, medication.
Our clinicians at Nurseline Community Services can provide positive behaviour support in the comfort of your own home. Their goal is to identify the individual’s strengths and unique abilities and leverage them.
Treatment for Children with ADHD
The treatment plan for children with ADHD should vary depending on the type of ADHD. There are multiple effective treatments that allow children with ADHD to manage their symptoms and learn how to live more independent lives.
Part of the treatment plan for children with ADHD includes:
- Engaging in specialised exercises
- Learning coping mechanisms
- Having nutritious meals
- Behavioural therapy
- Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)
- Working on improving the ability to pay attention and focus
Treatment for Adults with ADHD
Many adults diagnosed with ADHD take medication for their ADHD symptoms prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, medication isn’t the right fit for everyone and in some cases, it might not help with all symptoms.
Regular physical exercise is one of the most effective ways to relieve the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, memory and mood.
Other effective ways to cope with ADHD as an adult include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Behavioural therapies/cognitive behavioural therapy
- Support groups
- Proper nutrition
Is ADHD a Learning Disability?
It’s crucial to understand that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not a learning disability. However, its symptoms can make certain learning processes more challenging.
An example of this is how children with ADHD have challenges with staying focused during lessons and might miss out on a lot of crucial information.
Additionally, ADHD can often co-exist with learning disabilities, anxiety disorders and other mental health challenges.
Support for Children and Adults with ADHD
Both adults and children with ADHD need proactive support in order to learn how to manage their symptoms. Each individual has different needs and a unique set of challenges that come with ADHD.
Therefore, it’s crucial for each individual, no matter the age, to receive proper support from family, friends, and from professionals.
How Nurseline Community Services Can Help
At Nurseline Community Services, we provide tailored support to children and adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Our goal is to provide an understanding of ADHD by using individualised care plans and tailored care approaches to meet the needs of the people we care for.
Our clinicians are trained in positive behaviour support and take an outcome-based approach. Additionally, our clinicians focus on the unique set of abilities of each individual and find ways to leverage them. Our end goal is to support individuals while they learn how to manage the challenges that come with ADHD and find ways to live life independently and freely.
If you or your loved one received a diagnosis of ADHD, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices today.