ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural syndrome that can affect children, young people and adults. ADHD can cause impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. People with ADHD may often have other conditions alongside it. An ADHD diagnosis can only be made by a medical professional. For someone to have an ADHD diagnosis, the person must show significant impairment. There seems to be a genetic component in ADHD. Guidelines for the treatment of ADHD recommend the use of certain ‘stimulant’ medication for children, young people and adults. It is also recommended that someone with ADHD is referred to a type of talking therapy called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
This factsheet covers: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. What is ADHD? What are the symptoms of ADHD? What are the different types of ADHD? How is ADHD diagnosed? What causes ADHD? How is ADHD treated? Useful contacts
1. What is ADHD? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural syndrome that can affect children, young people and adults. The condition has symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention. ADHD is thought to affect 3-9% of school aged children and young people in the UK and about 2% of adults worldwide.1 ADHD develops in childhood and is most commonly noticed at the age of 5. Research suggests that 80% of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to experience symptoms during adolescence and 67% continue to have symptoms into adulthood.2 Top 2. What are the symptoms of ADHD? The symptoms of ADHD are Inattention People with inattention problems may not be able to concentrate for long periods, or complete tasks. They may be disorganised and lose things often. They may also be easily distracted, and find it difficult to listen to people who are talking. Hyperactivity People who are hyperactive may fidget and find it difficult to sit still. They may seem very restless (which children may show by running around a lot of the time). They may talk constantly and be noisy, finding it difficult to take part in quiet activities. Impulsivity People with impulsivity problems may interrupt other people, and find it hard to wait their turn. They may also speak without thinking through the consequences (e.g. make inappropriate comments). Symptoms of ADHD are present throughout the general population and can very in severity. However, only people who have a significant psychological, educational, occupational (work-related) or social impairment meet the diagnostic criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. Also, symptoms of ADHD can overlap with symptoms of other disorders. There a number of conditions that can commonly exist alongside ADHD. In children, these can include anxiety, learning or mood disorders. In adults, these can include personality disorders, bipolar disorder, substance misuse and obsessive-compulsive disorder.3 Generally, ADHD is a condition that persists. Most young people with an ADHD diagnosis will go on to have significant problems in adulthood. This may include continuing ADHD, or emotional or social difficulties, unemployment or substance misuse. Top
3. What are the different types of ADHD? The symptoms of ADHD (impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention) are not seen to the same degree in all people with this condition. People with ADHD may show predominantly hyperactive and impulsive symptoms predominately inattentive symptoms a combination of all three. ADHD not otherwise specified (if the previous three categories do not fit) Top
4. How is ADHD diagnosed? Only health care professionals can diagnose ADHD. However, it is possible that a child psychologist or psychiatrist, paediatrician, social worker, educational psychologist or GP will be involved in this process. The healthcare professional carrying out the diagnosis must rule out any other condition that might be causing the unusual behaviour or moods, such as learning...
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