Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a condition that affects your ability to focus, sit still, and make thoughtful decisions. While it’s often noticed in children, adults can have it too. ADHD is estimated to affect approximately 11% of school age children and 5% of adults worldwide. Symptoms continue into adulthood in more than 75% of cases. It is more commonly diagnosed in males than females. Additionally, ADHD often coexists with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities, complicating both diagnosis and treatment.
The average age for an ADHD diagnosis is age 7. About 6 in 10 U.S. children with ADHD also have at least one other mental, emotional or behavior condition such as anxiety or depression.
Individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life, but the condition can also have serious consequences including school failure, family stress and disruption, relationship problems, substance abuse, delinquency, accidental injuries and job failure. This is why early identification and treatment are so very important.
ADHD is categorized into three primary subtypes based on the predominant symptoms:
- Inattention Presentation: Individuals may have difficulty staying on task, sustaining focus, and staying organized, not due to defiance or a lack of comprehension. They overlook or miss details and make seemingly careless mistakes at school, work or during other activities. Seeming not to listen, difficulty following directions, losing things such as paper work or supplies, wallets, and cell phones. Easily distracted adn forgetful.
- Hyperactive Presentation: The primary symptoms are hyperactivity, such as fidgeting and extreme restlessness, when it is not appropriate, and excessive talking. Unable to engage in quiet work, and constantly in motion.
- Impulsivity Presentation: The primary symptoms are acting without thinking, difficulty with self-control, the inability to delay gratification, interrupting others, making important decisions without considering the long-term consequences. Difficulty waiting one’s turn, and intruding on others during conversations, games or activities.
- Combined presentation: This involves a mix of the other types.
The exact cause of ADHD remains elusive, but it is generally agreed that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors contribute to its onset. Studies have shown that this condition runs in families, substantial evidence for the role of genetics. Certain environmental factors, such as prenatal exposure to nicotine or alcohol, low birth weight, and lead exposure, have also been associated with an increased risk of developing ADHD.
The diagnosis of ADHD typically involves a comprehensive assessment, including clinical interviews, observations, and standardized rating scales. These assessments aim to establish the presence, duration, and impact of symptoms on daily life. Symptoms should be present for at least six months and must cause significant impairment in function and cause the person to fall behind typical development for their age.
Symptoms change as the child matures. In early childhood hyperactivity-impulsivity is predominant. By elementary school, inattention may be more prominent. In adolescence restlessness and fidgeting arise but inattention and impulsivity remain, which tends to persist into adulthood.
Adolescents may have problems with emotional regulation, including irritability and frustration, which may also cause difficulty with relationships and antisocial behavior. Adults may have difficulties with executive function, social functioning and maintaining relationships, which can be exacerbated by co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Management of ADHD often involves a multi-pronged approach that may include medication, behavioral therapies, and educational interventions tailored to the individual’s age and specific symptomatology.
Stimulant medications are often the first choice for treatment and work well for most to improve focus and control impulsivity but can have side effects like sleep issues or loss of appetite. Non-stimulant medications are available for those who cannot take stimulants. Behavioral therapy can teach coping skills and organization techniques.
Medical and psychiatric professionals at Mercie Health and Wellness will consider the evolving nature of ADHD when developing treatment plans.
Our professionals will conduct periodic reassessments to adapt treatment strategies as the individual matures and their symptoms evolve. These periodic evaluations facilitate a nuanced understanding of the condition and ensure that treatment remains aligned with the individual’s changing needs.
At Mercie Health and Wellness in Katy, Texas we provide a comprehensive, patient-centric approach involving regular monitoring and find that multiple treatment modalities often yield the best outcomes. You will always be treated with respect and dignity at Mercie Health. Contact us to schedule a consultation to learn more about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.
At a Glance
Dr. Sylvia Udokoro Nwakanma
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Double Board Certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)
- SAMSHA Certified Addictions Nurse Practitioner
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