Understanding ADHD Symptoms and Causes

Everything You Need To Know About ADHD


ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of childhood's most common neurodevelopmental disorders. The condition is initially diagnosed in childhood and may prolong into adulthood. People with this condition may find it challenging to pay attention. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with daily functioning.

Stages of ADHD

Medical experts can define the severity of ADHD as the following:

  • Mild: The symptoms of this stage of ADHD lead to minor impairment within social, school, or workplaces.
  • Moderate: Patients show symptoms that range between "mild" and "severe" ADHD.
  • Severe: The symptoms are mainly severe. In most cases, symptoms lead to marked impairment within social, school, or workplace settings.

Types of ADHD

  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: The disorder makes it difficult for patients to organize or complete tasks. Most people cannot follow instructions, pay attention to details, or keep up with conversations. These people living with ADHD are known to get distracted easily and unable to remember details of normal daily routines.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: Individuals with this type of ADHD tend to fidget and talk a lot. They are unable to sit still for an extended period of time. Younger children may run around a lot, jump or climb continually. Other symptoms may include a feeling of restlessness and impulsivity (patients may interrupt others often, grab things from people, or speak abruptly at inappropriate times). These individuals cannot wait for their turn or listen to instructions. Impulsiveness may make one vulnerable to accidents and injuries.
  • Combined Presentation: A patient may have these symptoms in the two types listed above, which can change over time.

Signs and Symptoms of ADHD

Although all children face trouble focusing and behaving, children with ADHD fail to grow out of these behaviors. These children may continue showing symptoms resulting in difficulty performing at school, at home, or with friends.

The most common symptoms shown by children with ADHD include:

  • Frequent daydreaming
  • Tendency to forget things often
  • Tendency to lose things often
  • Squirming or fidgeting often
  • Talking excessively
  • Constantly making careless mistakes
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Unable to resist temptation
  • Faces challenges taking turns
  • Difficulty in getting along with others

Causes of ADHD

Presently researchers are reviewing the cause(s) and risk factors of ADHD. Presently, the main causes are unknown.

Aside from genetics, researchers are also studying other likely causes and risk factors, including the following:

  • A brain injury
  • Low birth weight
  • Exposure to environmental risks or toxins such as lead during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Tobacco use during pregnancy

A common theory is that ADHD is caused by overeating sugar. However, data has yet to support this theory.

Risk Factors Associated with ADHD

  • Genetics
  • Birth factors (early birth or very low birth weight)
  • Factors in the mother during pregnancy (Smoking, using drugs or drinking alcohol, certain medications, such as corticosteroids and antidepressants)
  • Mental health problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as lead
  • Exposure to toxins such as lead raises the risk of ADHD in children

Complications of Living with ADHD

Individuals with ADHD are known to have a minimum of 2-3 of the challenges listed below:

  • Inability to complete tasks
  • Losing track of time
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hyper-focused
  • Daydreaming
  • Organizational issues

People living with ADHD are susceptible and empathic. Living with the condition may be difficult. Symptoms may make day-to-day tasks challenging. These challenges can be handled with the support of a medical professional that has experience in helping ADHD patients.

It is possible to live a happy life with ADHD. Learn strategies to cope with the condition. A medical professional can guide you and help you take action to lead a better quality of life.

Prevention of ADHD

Behavioral management can have a positive impact on a child's behavior. Initially, parents are advised to strengthen their relationship with their children. Therapists recommend spending quality time with children daily to achieve this goal. Parents should allow children to pick an activity. It is important to focus on appreciating and enjoying time with your child and their interests.

The second step in Behavioral Management is to appreciate when your child behaves well. Parents are advised to praise their children and reward them for their behavior. Parents are advised to recognize and praise their child's good behavior at least five times per day. Acknowledging the behavior with simple praise can be very helpful.

Do not expect too much. It is important to focus on a few tasks at a time. You must clearly explain the behavior you expect from your child. Let your child know which behavior can be rewarded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Obesity is not responsible for triggering ADHD. However, it can be a problem for those who already have ADHD. These individuals may find it difficult to lose weight or maintain healthy body weight.

Studies have demonstrated that over two-thirds of people with ADHD have at least one coexisting condition. ADHD symptoms may overshadow coexisting disorders. Although any disorder can coexist with ADHD, certain disorders are more commonly associated with ADHD, including sleep disorders, anxiety, disruptive behavior disorders, substance abuse, mood disorders, tics or Tourette syndrome, and learning disorders.

In the year 2010, the DEA allowed the prescription of stimulant medications. However, this may only be legal in some states. Only some medical offices may be equipped with the required tools and software to send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies. Additionally, state laws require a physician to meet with an ADHD patient for a prescription renewal.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 11% of kids ages 4-17 in the United States were diagnosed with ADHD by 2011. A National Institutes of Health report states that nearly 4% (14.4 million) of U.S. adults are diagnosed with ADHD.

Women are just as likely to have ADHD as men. However, women with ADHD are more likely to go undiagnosed than their male counterparts.

Yes. Most of the available evidence suggests that ADHD is considered a genetic condition.

ADHD does not have a single cure. Children with the disorder can face challenges outgrowing it. Today's treatment options focus on managing symptoms with medication and behavioral modification using cognitive behavioral therapy.

Not enough evidence yet supports the effects of exercise, sleep, and diet on ADHD symptoms. However, these three things are significant to a patient's general wellness.

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