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I Thought ADHD Was Just For Children

I thought ADHD was just for children.

Ever feel like you have a really hard time staying focused? How about the inability to sit still? If you do, you might have ADHD, and no it’s not just something that kids have. In fact, over 17 million Americans alone suffer from ADHD.

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While the cause for ADHD it unknown, it is thought to be an imbalance in the chemicals sent and received in your brain. Luckily for people who suffer from this disorder, it is treatable.

Lets break down ADHD a bit further:

Attention-Deficit: This means that a person has a high likely hood of not completing tasks, has difficulty in staying focused and is, often at times, very disorganized.

Hyperactivity: If you have trouble sitting still, and finding yourself moving constantly you might have issues with hyperactivity. It can also be highlighted by fidgeting, tapping or constant talking.

Impulsiveness: making very hasty decisions or actions without properly thinking them through. This can be caused by needing immediate satisfaction or need for an immediate reward.

 

Signs and Symptoms

There are two main types of ADHD: Inattention and Hyperactivity-Impulsivity.

Common symptoms of inattention are:

  • Missing details in school or work assignments.
  • Problems focusing on conversations or reading.
  • Seeming disinterested when being spoken to.
  • Failing to finish assignments or tasks.
  • Losing important items, such as: pencils, books, glasses, keys and/or cellphones.
  • Easily distracted.

Common symptoms of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity are:

  • Fidgeting or moving around in seats.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Talking nonstop.
  • Having trouble waiting your turn.
  • Interrupting others during conversations.

Symptoms for ADHD can appear as early as 3 and 6 in children and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. ADHD should be diagnosed by a licensed clinician or doctor.

However, these symptoms can and do change over time as a person ages. In young children hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most common symptom. As the child reaches elementary school, these symptoms man change to inattention and may cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may start showing signs of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity might still remain. These symptoms for adolescents can make it difficult to maintain relationships. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood, and cause similar effects.

Treatment and Therapies

While there is no cure for ADHD. There are treatments available that help reduce symptoms and improve functioning with ADHD. These treatments include medication and therapy.

Medication: As always, speak with a doctor to be prescribed the proper medication.

Stimulants: The most common type of medication used for ADHD. Stimulants work by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine which play a big role in thinking and more importantly attention.

Non-Stimulants: These medications take longer to start working than stimulants, but help improve focus, attention and impulsivity. These are typically prescribed when stimulants are ineffective.

Therapy:

Behavioral Therapy: This aims to help a person change his or her behavior. This is done with positive and negative feedback to help establish rules, and lists to help a patient monitor their own behavior or thinking before they act impulsively.

Cognitive Therapy: This teaches a person to improve concentration or focus through being aware of one’s own thoughts, sometimes through techniques such as meditation.

It is important for all people with ADHD to see a therapist to help manage their life with the complications from having ADHD. It is important to do the following:

  • Keep a routine
  • Make lists for tasks and different activities.
  • Use a calendar
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller more manageable ones.
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