Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder occurs when a person has trouble with maintaining attention or controlling physical energy and movement.
In the United States, approximately 8.4% of children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD Around 2.5 % of adults have ADHD.
National Institute of Mental Health states that ADHD symptoms can begin as early as 3yo. As with many mental health issues many different life events, psychological disorders, and medical conditions can lead to certain characteristics of ADHD. Even if the individual receives a diagnosis, ADHD is very manageable, and treatment is highly effective in majority of patients.
While no one knows the actual cause or causes of ADHD, a person with ADHD experiences a wide variety of impairments, including difficulty maintaining attention, focusing on a task, and overactive thinking.
Some people with ADHD might have difficulty sitting still and seem to always be on the go (hyperactivity) – still others may display a combination of different symptoms.
All people may struggle with paying attention to things, they find disinteresting, boring or repetitive from time to time, those with ADHD face consistent challenges with maintaining attention and are characterized by quick to follow through on impulses or become easily distracted. A person with ADHD experiences impulsivity and distraction beyond a level that would be typical. Both child and adult people with ADHD experience impulse control issues.
- including predominantly inattentive ADHD
- predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD
- combined ADHD.
These do not qualify as different diagnoses. This provides additional information on a particular presentation of ADHD to assist the providers in managing its effects.
A person with inattentive ADHD is more likely to demonstrate the following disruptive characteristics:
- inability to pay close attention to a task
- tendency to make careless mistakes
- trouble with focus on activities or tasks
- appearing not to listen while other people are talking
- difficulty with time management and tasks
- frequently “loosing” or misplacing items like keys, wallet, phone, backpack, books
- becoming distracted easily
- leaving tasks incomplete and moving onto the next
This specifier means that an individual shows more signs of hyperactivity than inattention, including:
- constantly “on-the-go”
- an inability to remain seated
- bouts of inappropriate running or climbing
- difficulties waiting for their turn in a conversation, often finishing other people’s sentences or answering before the end of a question
- intruding on others conversations, activities, or games
- persistent fidgeting, tapping of the hands and feet, or squirming
- excessive talking
- inability to play or work “quietly”
A person with a combined ADHD shows characteristics from both specifiers.
These characteristics can interfere with daily life, relationships with others, and success in school or work, this can change over time. Women are more likely to have trouble with inattentive characteristics, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
This could be why females do not often receive a diagnosis. Educators would not describe their symptoms in class as disruptive, as hyperactive characteristics often do not have as much of a presence in female presentations of ADHD.