ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a common neurological disorder that impacts many children, teens, and even adults. ADHD symptoms, including inattentiveness, restlessness, and hyperactivity, vary with severity, which can make it difficult to immediately identify this condition.
According to the CDC, over 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD in the United States alone. This represents almost 10 percent of all children in the country, clearly showing that this is a nationwide cause for concern and attention. ADHD impacts everyone uniquely, and depending on the severity of the symptoms, can make daily life extremely challenging.
If you believe your child or a loved one is experiencing ADHD, it’s important to seek out professional medical help. While there is no cure for ADHD, there are certain forms of therapy and medication that can help manage symptoms. To better understand this increasingly common neurological disorder, we’re reviewing some of the most common ADHD symptoms and potential treatment options.
TYPES OF ADHD
Doctors have categorized ADHD into three specific subtypes: predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type, predominantly inattentive type, and combination ADHD. Let’s take a closer look at each of these subtypes:
1. Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive type
This type is the rarest of the three and is experienced through hyperactivity and impulsive actions and behaviors.
2. Predominantly inattentive type
This type primarily manifests via inattentive symptoms, such as being easily distracted, losing things, difficulty paying attention or listening to others.
3. Combination ADHD
As the name suggests, this third subtype incorporates symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity.
SYMPTOMS OF ADHD
Depending on the type of ADHD, your child or teen may experience different symptoms. Inattentive ADHD and hyperactive ADHD manifest in unique ways, and thus, require distinct treatment plans, which makes it even more important to have this condition diagnosed by a medical professional. Below are some of the most common symptoms of inattentive and hyperactive ADHD.
While most children or teens may seem disinterested or careless at times, these habits become much more habitual, noticeable, and disruptive, if the individual is experiencing inattentive ADHD. Common symptoms for this type of ADHD include:
- Easily distracted
- Making careless mistakes (especially in schoolwork)
- Difficulty organizing tasks
- Short attention span
- Often forgetful and losing things
- Trouble listening for even short periods of time
- Difficulty sticking to longer, more complex tasks
HYPERACTIVE AND IMPULSIVE ADHD
Excitement and energy are hallmarks traits for most young children and teens. However, these impulses can become excessive and problematic for those suffering from hyperactive and impulsive ADHD. Common symptoms for this type of ADHD include:
- Excessive physical movement
- Excessive talking
- Acting without thinking
- Constantly fidgeting
- Unable to concentrate on tasks
- Interruptive behavior
- Unable to wait their turn
- Limited awareness of danger or dangerous activities
RELATED CONDITIONS FOR CHILDREN OR TEENS WITH ADHD
While not always the case, some children and teens may also suffer from additional conditions related to their ADHD symptoms. ADHD does not necessarily cause these conditions, but may exacerbate the symptoms. Some of these related conditions include:
Children or teens with ADHD may find it difficult to stick to a normal routine or do well in social interactions and relationships, which can lead to mood disorders and depression. ADHD can make even the simplest tasks or interaction a challenge.
2. Sleep Issues
ADHD can affect the regular sleep pattern of your child or teen. This can lead to irregular sleep patterns or simply the inability to fall asleep at night. A full night’s sleep is critically important for the overall health of your child. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, and even poorer cardiovascular health.
3. Anxiety Disorders
ADHD is closely linked to anxiety disorders, which develops as excessive nervousness and worrying on a daily basis—even over small tasks or interactions. Anxiety disorders can even have physical symptoms, such as sweating, dizziness, and a rapid heartbeat.
4. Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
This condition is defined by an extreme mistrust and negative attitude toward the authority figures in a child or teen’s life, including teachers, bosses, parents, or older siblings.
5. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is characterized by involuntary and repetitive movements or noises. This syndrome is one form of a Tic disorder and can be expressed through either motor tics (body movements like blinking, shaking, head bobbing, or shoulder shrugging) or vocal tics (shouting, grunting, throat clearing, or certain words or phrases).
TREATMENT FOR ADHD
Currently, there is no medical cure for ADHD, but there are various treatment options that can help your child or teen manage the symptoms and lead a happy, normal life. There are treatment options for all three types of ADHD. The two primary methods of treatment are behavior therapy and medication.
In behavior therapy, both children and their parents undergo therapy to help better understand, manage, and respond to ADHD symptoms. Behavioral therapy can be administered by a medical professional or parent and focuses on specific problem behaviors and working toward improved habits and functioning. This may include restructuring time at home, making specific, predictable routines, and highlighting positive energy and attention. This type of treatment is especially ideal for children too young for medication.
However, for some children or teens, certain medications may be beneficial in treating ADHD. There are several medications available, such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin, that can help your child focus and lead a more stable daily life. Before pursuing any medication, it’s critically important to have your child or teen diagnosed by a professional so you can understand any potential side effects.
CONCLUSION – WHAT ARE ADHD SYMPTOMS?
ADHD is one of the prominent neurological disorders in children and teens. Between 2003 and 2011, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD in the United States increased by over two million. As this number continues to rise, doctors and treatment centers are developing more sophisticated methods to help individuals cope with the symptoms of ADHD.
No one should ever go down this path alone. If you believe your child or teen may be suffering from ADHD, regardless of the severity level, you should reach out to a professional treatment center or physician. A medical professional will be able to help diagnose the condition, which can then illuminate the path toward healing and better mental health.