Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents is marked by inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors. The symptoms usually start before age 12 and boys are approximately three to four times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. Children and adolescents with ADHD experience significant difficulties in areas of learning, interpersonal relations, and emotional development. According to research, if ADHD is left untreated, children and adolescents with ADHD may eventually develop Conduct Disorder and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood; however, genetic, neurological, and environmental factors all come into play. Research shows that ADHD tends to run in families and low levels of neurotransmitters may also play a role in the development of the disorder. Recently, it has been found that the frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain in charge of managing executive functions, is smaller in people with ADHD. The executive function is comprised of a set of mental skills related to working memory, planning, organizing, self-control, etc.
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults
Adults with ADHD experience significant problems at work and interpersonal relationships. Although they show less hyperactive behaviors compared to children and adolescents with ADHD, adults with ADHD usually feel restless and “on edge.” They also report difficulties with concentration, impulsivity, emotional regulation, etc. Many adults with ADHD are hardly aware of their symptoms and often believe that their problems are more related to personality and/or cognitive issues, which then leads to feelings of guilt and low self-esteem.
Below are the main symptoms of ADHD:
– Does not pay attention to details or often makes careless mistakes in school and/or other tasks
– Has difficulties staying focused on tasks or activities
– May not listen and follow through on directions and instructions leading to unfinished tasks
– Has problems with planning and organizing tasks and activities
– Dislikes or avoids tasks that require sustained mental effort
– Loses things needed for tasks or activities
– Becomes easily distracted by external stimuli
– Forgets daily tasks such as doing chores
– Fidgets constantly with hands or feet
– Has difficulties remaining seated
– Runs about where it is not appropriate
– Has trouble staying focused on leisure activities and/or quiet tasks
– Is restless and always “on the go”
– Talks excessively
– Blurts out answers even before a question has been finished
– Has difficulties waiting their turn
– Interrupts conversations