Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, otherwise known as ADHD, is a neurological disorder usually diagnosed in young children and is carried on into adulthood. People diagnosed with ADHD have trouble focusing, paying attention, and controlling impulsive behaviors. Symptoms are usually easier to determine in childhood. While children tend to have issues with focusing and behaving usually, people diagnosed with ADHD don’t grow out of these habits easily and can instead become more severe as they grow older.
Symptoms are expressed differently by every individual, though they can still fit into the following three categories; inattentive, hyperactive, or a combination of both. Inattentive symptoms include difficulty concentrating and staying organized, being easily distracted, and being forgetful. Hyperactive-impulsive symptoms include restlessness, impatience, excessive talking, and the tendency to interrupt or intrude on others. These symptoms are noticeable in childhood and can carry on into adulthood, albeit manifesting in different forms.
Though people with ADHD have many options for treatment, it can still have strong effects on one’s life. Children tend to have trouble socializing, making friends, lag behind in academics, as well as focus on school work. Adults are impacted by their relationships, job performance, and overall quality of life. These obstacles can lead to a series of negative emotions, including stress, frustration, depression, hopelessness, and more. Despite these challenges, people with ADHD are not considered to possess lower IQ or intelligence and are instead presented with unique issues that they can overcome with time and support.
ADHD has been studied for years and is the leading diagnosis among children. Studies have shown that low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, are found in the brain. PET scans have also found that brain metabolism is slow in the areas of the brain that control movement, social judgment, and attention, which is focused in the prefrontal cortex. It has also been noted that people with ADHD have different neural pathways.
ADHD has many strong co-occurrences with other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, learning disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, behavioral disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder, and especially bipolar disorder. People with ADHD also tend to have higher rates of substance abuse, obesity, and injury.
There has been no determined cause(s) for ADHD, but research has proven that there is a genetic link and that ADHD can be passed down. Scientists are currently researching if it is caused by environmental risks during pregnancy or infancy, premature birth, alcohol, and tobacco use during pregnancy, and brain injury. It has been confirmed that prenatal and postnatal environments such as the ones mentioned are linked to an increase in the likelihood of a person developing ADHD.
There is no cure for ADHD due to it being a chronic condition, but treatment has proven to be helpful. It allows diagnosed individuals to thrive and find methods to cope and overcome the issues they deal with daily and reach their full potential. Behavioral therapies are recommended for young children as well as parent training programs to help families support their children the best they can. Medication is also available to help boost the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to increase brain metabolism and communication between the chemical messengers in the brain.
ADHD is represented and expressed in numerous forms at all ages. Its symptoms, whether they fit inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, or both, can have a profound effect on one’s overall well-being, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Despite its challenges, individuals can overcome ADHD while gaining support from friends and family, taking medication, or going to a licensed medical professional and getting proper treatment. This way, people with ADHD can reach their full potential, flourish, and thrive. Public awareness and being educated on the topic facilitate understanding and provides the proper resources for people with ADHD to prosper.