Blog Post Series 1: Introducing ADHD

Posted on November 10, 2010

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What exactly is ADHD you may ask? Is it a disease?  How do you know if you have ADHD? Is it hereditary? Is there a  cure for it? These are all valid questions you may have about ADHD. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is amongst one of the most common childhood disorders out there, in which a person exhibits the behaviors of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness.. This I found very interesting because most people do not realize how many people actually suffer from the disorder. MentalHelp.net says that 3-7% of school aged children have the disorder. For example, the other week in my English class, we were randomly paired up with a partner to read and analyze each others blogs, and to my surprise, my partner, being very interested in my topic, tells me that she  has ADHD, which goes to show how common it really is. Being knowledgeable and understanding of ADHD is very important whether you are the one that is suffering from it or if you may know someone who has the disorder.

Due to a lack of chemicals in the brain that are key for organizing thought, people with ADHD have difficulty controlling attention and activity, causing them to have trouble focusing on certain tasks and subjects, act impulsively, and get into trouble. This follows up with the 3 main symptoms of ADHD: hyperactivity, impulsiveness , and inattention. Some people are dominant in only one or two of the following symptoms, or may have a combination of them all. Now here the Child Development Guide helps us list some of the types of behaviors that may occur in each category:

Hyperactive ADHD

The hyperactive behavior associated with definition of ADHD includes when a child…

  • Has difficulty standing still or staying seated without fidgeting, bouncing or moving
  • Talks excessively
  • Climbs on things or jumps off things inappropriately
  • Is constantly moving
  • Have difficulty with quiet activities.

Impulsive ADHD    

The impulsive behavior associated with definition of ADHD include when a child…

  • Interrupts others’ conversations
  • Has difficulty waiting for a turn
  • Interrupts other children’s play inappropriately
  • Blurts out answers inappropriately
  • Acts in a reckless manner without thinking of the consequences, such as running into traffic or jumping off a dangerous incline.

Inattentive ADHD

The inattentive behavior associated with definition of ADHD include when a child…

  • Appears not to listen when being spoken to
  • Has difficulty following directions and finishing tasks
  • Is easily distracted
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Loses belongings and has a difficult time staying organized.

Now after reading the list of symptoms and behavior examples, you can probably think of a few prime suspects off the top of your head that you think may have ADHD. However, when thinking of children candidates be careful! There’s still a little more to it than that. Given that majority of children tend to exhibit at least some of the behaviors characteristic of ADHD, such as daydreaming, restlessness, or poor social skills, it is important to understand the difference between normal “kid” behaviors and a true disorder.

MentalHelp.net says that, “true ADHD symptoms are long-term and severe enough to impair someone’s every day functioning, with symptoms usually occurring in more than one environment, such as at school, home, or daycare. For example, being that I work with all kinds of different children at a daycare, I can get a sense of what kids may have some type of disability or disorder from observing their actions and how well they work with others, but I can’t always assume. That’s why it is very important to seek professional help if you are in questioning of whether a person has ADHD or not.

Now that we have discussed what ADHD exactly is and the types of symptoms it consists of, let’s talk about how it is treated. Because the actual cause of ADHD is unknown, there is no real cure for it. However, there are various ways to reduce ADHD symptoms, such as medication treatment, behavioral therapy, counseling, biofeedback training, and the list goes on. For the sake of simplicity we will discuss treatments in a broader term for now: medication treatments and non-drug treatments. In my next post I will elaborate on these treatments and compare the two, raising the question of which route of treatment is better for you and your child.

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