Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Articles, Conditions, Mental health, Neurologic

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.  It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that appears in childhood, often persists into adulthood, and typically involves difficulties with the acquisition, retention, or application of specific skills or sets of information.  This translates to trouble with attention, memory, perception, language, problem-solving, or social interaction.  

Adult ADHD may look a little different that ADHD in kids, but when looking back, some of the symptoms should have been present before the age of 12.  In adults it tends to be more the inattentive type.  In adults, symptoms may include

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Impatience
  • Difficulty in maintaining relationships

Diagnosis of ADHD

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria include 9 symptoms and signs of inattention and 9 of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Diagnosis using these criteria requires ≥ 6 symptoms and signs from one or each group.

Inattention symptoms:

  • Does not pay attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or with other activities
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention on tasks at school or during play
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instructions or finish tasks
  • Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort over a long period of time
  • Often loses things necessary for school tasks or activities
  • Is easily distracted
  • Is forgetful in daily activities

Hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms
  • Often leaves seat in classroom or elsewhere
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively where such activity is inappropriate
  • Has difficulty playing quietly
  • Often on the go, acting as if driven by a motor
  • Often talks excessively
  • Often blurts out answers before questions are completed
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others

Also, the symptoms need to:

  • Be present often for ≥ 6 months
  • Be more pronounced than expected for the child’s developmental level
  • Occur in at least 2 situations (eg, home and school)
  • Be present before age 12 (at least some symptoms)
  • Interfere with functioning at home, school, or work




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