Growing up, many of us have experienced bouts of impulsivity and distractibility as energetic children. In adulthood, these behaviours reminiscent of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be due to the overwhelming demands of work, school or home life. However, there’s a difference between having these traits and being diagnosed with the brain disorder.
In Life Noggin’s video, “What Are The Chances You ACTUALLY Have ADHD?” host Pat Graziosi and co-host Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory explain ADHD is a brain disorder that’s identified by levels of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that are considered atypical.
ADHD’s inattention refers to a person wandering off-task; not being much organised; or having a hard time staying focused.
Hyperactivity is when a person doesn’t seem to stop moving, or excessively fidgets or talks, while impulsivity is shown when a person makes quick decisions without thinking them over, especially if the impact of the decision is significant.
It’s common to have times of inattention, sporadic motor activity, or even times of impulsivity, but in people with ADHD, these times are far more severe and frequent. These symptoms are more likely to interfere with the quality of their social life or affect their performance at school or at work. ADHD is seen as a childhood condition that often continues on into adulthood.
The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD varies. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found only about 11 per cent of U.S. school-aged children were given an ADHD diagnosis by a healthcare provider.
Moreover, the rate of ADHD diagnosis was about double for high school boys than it was for high school girls. It’s important to note these rates are of people being professionally diagnosed, which can vary with the occurrences of ADHD.
Although the percentage seems small, a study conducted by the University of South Carolina found ADHD is both under and over diagnosed. The researchers found a substantial amount of children are being treated for the disorder, while many children who have the symptoms are going untreated. For example, 8.7 per cent of children in South Carolina had enough symptoms to fit the ADHD diagnosis at the time of the assessment, while the percentage was 10.6 in Oklahoma. Yet, of children taking ADHD medication in South Carolina, only 39.5 per cent, and 28.3 per cent in Oklahoma actually met the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.
In adults, the disorder affects 4.4 per cent of the U.S. population, but fewer than 20 per cent of these individuals seek help for it. Specifically, 12.9 per cent of men and 4.9 per cent of women will be diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime. In adulthood, traits like disorganisation and problems prioritising, poor time management skills, and frequent mood swings are tell-tale signs of ADHD, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Currently, there is no cure, but treatments like medication and psychotherapy can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve a person’s life. Medication for ADHD usually comes in the form of a stimulant, which works by increasing chemicals in the brain like dopamine that aids in thinking and staying focused. Psychotherapy is often in the form of behaviour therapy and can help a person finish their work, Organise tasks, or cope with emotional situations.
The combination of these two treatments could help people overcome the condition.
A 2014 study found exercise could also help kids with ADHD symptoms. When researchers observed younger children, they found 30-minute exercise sessions led to improved attention and mood in participants. Exercise alone may not be a powerful enough treatment for ADHD alone, but it can be helpful when combined with other methods.
ADHD continues to remain a controversial topic as some doctors feel the condition is not adequately recognised; some feel children are not being diagnosed; and others believe it’s over diagnosed.
It’s important to recognise the symptoms and evaluate if these behaviours are due to other lifestyle factors first. It’s also best to visit a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis rather than self-diagnose.
Source: Medical Daily