Attention Deficit Disorder is one of the most common mental conditions that coexist with learning disabilities. Though it is not classified as a standalone learning disability, the children and individuals having ADD, or ADHD, also have dyslexia or any other form of learning disabilities.
There are a number of different kinds of mental disorders that affect the normal living and functioning of people. Different mental disorders influence different parts of the brain, which is why people having different disabilities act differently.
While some of these disabilities also co-occur, nearly all of them are distinct disorders having distinct causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a behavioral disorder, now known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD.
Read on to know more about this condition.
ADD Definition - What is Attention Deficit Disorder?
Attention deficit disorder is one of the most common neurological disorders in kids. The condition causes a number of behavioral problems like difficulties in paying attention and focusing on the task at hand.
Kids having ADD face difficulties in concentrating in school and completing their homework, assignments, and other tasks. This extends to social interaction also and people may not feel comfortable with it.
Kids and people having ADD may experience other behavioral problems also. These problems include hyperactivity, several learning disabilities, and disciplinary problems at school. Though the condition is extremely common among kids, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding it.
Many people, including the parents and teachers, think that these students are lazy since they may not do the homework on time and follow the instructions properly.
Are ADD and ADHD the Same?
No, and yes. Many people use the terms interchangeably but there is a slight difference between them. Both of the conditions share similar symptoms but kids having ADD do not exhibit hyperactivity.
However, in 1994, doctors decided that all kinds of attention deficit disorders would be coined as ‘attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder’. This is why ADD or attention deficit disorder is now an outdated term and is no longer recognized.
The kids having ADD are quite shy and seem to be lost in their own thoughts. They are also called daydreamers as they have minimal focus on what the teacher is teaching.
These kids may appear bored or disinterested in the class and are prone to a number of problems like forgetfulness, disorganization, and losing of books and other material at school.
Moreover, these kids often fail to complete their homework on time that leads to low grades. The condition differs from the other two kinds of ADHD in this way that the kids having ADD do not display hyperactivity.
Causes of ADD - What Causes Attention Deficit Disorder?
“What causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?”
The causes and reasons are still unknown and scientists are still looking for the possible causes and ways to minimize it.
However, ADHD is diagnosed by studying some factors.
Below are some of those key factors.
Genetics - ADHD or ADD is a genetic disorder and, often, it runs in the family. If either or both of the parents have the condition, they are more likely to have kids with ADHD. However, this could be complicated because a number of genes are involved in it and no one could say anything for sure.
Environmental Factors - factors like prenatal tobacco exposure, low socioeconomic conditions, premature birth, lower awareness of the mother, depression during pregnancy, and exposure to lead may cause ADHD in the child.
Developmental Causes - development factors are related to the development of the brain and the issues due to which ADHD happened. Studies suggest that some areas of the brain of people having ADHD are relatively smaller than the people who do not have ADHD.
These people may also have an imbalance in the neurotransmitters’ level in their brains. Due to this, the chemicals do not work properly and cause such issues.
Other Causes - some other causes that may lead to the development of ADHD in people are epilepsy, low birth weight, and some head injury.
While the main causes are still not clear, the mentioned factors may contribute to some cases of ADHD.
Risk Factors - What are the Possible Risk Factors of ADHD?
Below are some risk factors that may cause or contribute to the development of ADHD.
- Having blood relatives that have ADHD, or another mental disorder.
- The mother has consumed alcohol, or drugs, or smoked during the pregnancy.
- The child is exposed to harmful toxins like lead that is found in paint and pipes of old buildings.
- The child is born premature or with less birth weight.
Though most of the cases of ADHD are genetic in nature, these factors increase the risk
Complications - What Complications could ADHD Cause?
Being diagnosed with ADHD could cause a number of problems and difficulties for you. Some of the issues that could be the result of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are given below.
- Poor performance at school and work
- Unemployment or inability to secure admission in a prestigious institute
- Financial issues
- Disciplinary and law and order problems
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Frequent road accidents
- Problems with maintaining relationships
- Low physical and mental health
- Low self-esteem
- Suicidal tendency
Besides, there could be a number of other personal and professional problems that a person inflicted with ADHD may face. This also largely depends on the kind of ADHD the person is suffering from.
Coexisting Conditions - What Conditions could Co-Occur with ADHD?
Though attention deficit hyperactivity disorder does not cause any other developmental or mental problems, it could be the reason why some other health issues occurred. Some of the significant disorders that may happen as a result of ADHD are given below.
Mood Problems - Any people who have ADHD also have mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. Though it is not a direct consequence of the condition, repeated failure and issues due to ADHD could lead to them.
Anxiety Disorders - Anxiety disorder is common in people with ADHD. Such people are always anxious and tense about different and seemingly harmless things. Some issues include unnecessary worrying and nervousness and this could worsen due to ADHD.
Psychiatric Disorders - People dealing with ADHD are prone to a number of other mental and psychological disorders like personality disorders, substance abuse disorders, and intermittent explosive disorder.
Learning Disabilities - These individuals may also have dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning problems. People with learning disabilitie often score lower on academic scores and lower development as compared to the kids and people of their age.
Tourette’s Syndrome - A condition that is characterized by involuntary noises and movements. It is a condition of the nervous system.
Epilepsy - A nervous disorder that affects the brain neurotransmitters and is identified by repetitive seizures and fits.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder - the Autism Spectrum disorder influences the social communication, behavior, and interests of the individual and may also disrupt them.
All of these disorders and conditions are more common in kids and teenagers having ADHD. However, the symptoms could differ in adults.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could cause a number of other problems also. Therefore, proper intervention, treatment, and management are important for these kids and people.
Signs of ADHD - What are Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms?
“How to identify the signs of ADHD?”
Some individuals experience and exhibit fewer signs and symptoms as they grow older while others may continue displaying serious symptoms of the condition.
These signs largely depend on the type or kind of ADHD a person or child is having. Based on it, below are some of the core symptoms of ADHD.
- Impulsive behavior
- Disorganization and problems in making and following to-do lists
- Time management issues
- Issues in maintaining focus and completing a task
- Inability to multitask
- Excessive restlessness and activity
- Poor and failed planning
- Excessive mood swings
- Problems in following the instructions
- Quick temper
- Inability to handle stress
All of these are the main and common symptoms of the disorder. The people dealing with it are often restless and they could not wait for their turn to talk or answer in class.
This behavior lands them in several issues and causes difficulties for them, both personally and professionally.
Adult ADHD - Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
Though the same signs and symptoms that are common in kids and teenagers are used for the diagnosis for adults, the signs may differ. In adults, these signs are more difficult to identify and this is mainly because there is limited research in this area.
Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have symptoms that persisted through the childhood and teenage years. By 25 years of age, about 15% of the people having ADHD as a childhood condition have the full symptoms while the other 65% have some symptoms.
Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder in adults
Though the signs could be difficult to identify, as per some experts, below are some ADHD symptoms in adults.
- Lack of attention and careless
- Starting new tasks without completing the old ones
- Lack of organizational skills
- Difficulties in focusing on important tasks
- Misplacing and losing things
- Difficulties in staying quiet and waiting for their turn
- Interrupting others and blurting out mindlessly
- Extreme mood swings and quick temper
- Inability to manage stress
- Taking risks without the considering personal or others safety
Besides, there could be other symptoms also but due to lack of research, the given ones are the only known ones.
Coexisting Conditions - What Conditions Co-Occur in Adults with ADHD?
Like children and teenagers, some conditions coexist in the adults having ADHD. Below are some common conditions that may co-occur with ADHD.
Personality Disorders - these are mental conditions in which a person perceives, thinks, and feels things and situations differently than others.
Bipolar Disorder - the person having bipolar disorder experiences sudden and extreme mood swings.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - this condition causes the person to have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior that could interfere with daily and routine life.
These conditions could hinder normal relationships and social interaction of the person inflicted with ADHD.
Types - What are the Types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
Generally, there are three main types of ADHD.
Inattentive ADHD - it is what we call attention deficit disorder, ADD, and the people dealing with it may not have the symptom of excessive activity. These individuals just exhibit signs of inattentiveness.
Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD - the person takes hasty decisions and is excessively active. Such children and people could not sit still and fidget a lot. They also talk a lot and could not wait for their turn in the class.
Combined ADHD - this kind of ADHD combines both the symptoms of inattention, impulsive behavior, and impulsivity.
All of these kinds of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder display different kinds of symptoms and signs that help the doctors deal with it in a better manner.
Signs and Symptoms of Inattentive ADHD
Below are some core symptoms related to a predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD.
- trouble paying attention to the details and making careless mistakes in homework.
- have problems in maintaining focus and concentration on the given tasks, lectures, and reading.
- seems lost when someone talks to them.
- could not follow the instructions properly and complete the homework on time.
- have problems with organizing the tasks and activities while maintaining a proper sequence.
- poor time management skills and dislike tasks that involve ample mental work or stimulation like homework, writing assignments, and others.
- lose the necessary project and school supplies that are essential for the school work.
- be distracted easily and lose track of the work or communication.
- extreme forgetfulness.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD
Below are the signs of predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD.
- Squirming or fidgeting in the seat.
- Leaving the seat when they should be seated like in the classroom.
- Run and climb around when it is inappropriate.
- Inability to play and do stuff quietly and peacefully.
- Always being in a go or in a hurry.
- Talking excessively.
- Blurting out answers before even the questions are complete.
- Having difficulties in staying patient and waiting for their turn.
- Interrupting the conversation of other people.
All of these symptoms are the sure signs of a person having this kind of ADHD. These people face difficulties in situations where staying and being patient is necessary.
Attention Deficit Disorder Treatment - What are the Treatment Options?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for ADHD but it could be managed with proper intervention, medication, and therapy. These therapies help in improving the functioning of the individuals and minimize the symptoms in a better manner.
Below are some helpful treatment options.
Medication - What Kind of Medicine will be Useful for ADHD?
For many people, ADHD medicine is useful for managing hyperactivity and helping them control their impulsivity, and improve their work effectiveness and focus. The medication also helps in improving physical coordination
The physician could try several doses to see what works the best for the person.
Stimulants - this is the most common kind of medication for people with ADHD. Although it may seem strange to use a ‘stimulant’ to manage ADHD, these stimulants work by increasing brain chemicals like norepinephrine and dopamine.
These chemicals help in improving the working of the brain.
Non-Stimulants - these medicines do not work as quickly as the stimulants are given to the people who experience side effects from the stimulants. These work slowly and doctors may give these along with the stimulant to treat and control ADHD.
Psychotherapy and Psychosocial Treatment Options
Some psychosocial treatments and interventions are found to work better to manage ADHD. As per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), below are some kinds of psychotherapy and psychosocial intervention options.
Behavioral Therapy - this kind of therapy helps the person in changing his behavior and improving it. Through this, the person learns to monitor his behavior and rectify it if needed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - this involves mindfulness and meditation techniques. The person learns to be more self-aware and accepting of his thoughts. This helps in improving focus and doing better both personally and professionally.
Marital and Familial Therapy - through this therapy the spouses and family members of the person having ADHD learn to handle and manage the disruptive behavior and mood swings of the person. It helps in improving interaction and encouraging positive behavior.
Parenting Skills - this helps the parents of kids having ADHD in learning to manage the symptoms of their kid in a better manner. This helps them in using rewards and consequences systems and giving positive and negative feedback to help in improving their kids behavior.
Specific Classroom Interventions - this kind of therapy helps the teachers in helping the child with ADHD. Some schools also offer special education systems for ADHD kids.
Education specialists assist the parents and teachers to make helpful changes in the classroom and homework.
Stress Management Methods - the techniques could help the parents in managing stress when dealing with their SDHD inflicted child.
Support Groups - reaching out to support groups and people having similar issues is an excellent way of seeking support and help. The National Resource Center on ADHD, a program supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, has more information about the condition and resources to help you better.
Getting an emotional support animal also works for helping the person having ADHD in maintaining a routine. These individuals have difficulties in following a routine and adopting a dog will encourage them to stick to a daily routine.
Taking the dog on a daily walk and feeding him at the same time is important for his well-being. Therefore, the owner has to look after it. To choose one, you can check different dog breeds and see which one would be the best for you.
If you are thinking how to get an ESA Letter, contact RealESALetter.com or fill our online questionnaire.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between ADD and ADHD?
ADD is an old and outdated term for attention deficit disorder. Now, it is officially known as ADHD. Before 1994, ADD was used for the condition in which the person does not show any signs of hyperactivity.
However, now whether the person shows the hyperactivity symptom or not, the whole spectrum is known as ADHD.
What causes attention deficit disorder?
While there is no definite reason for the condition, current research and studies indicate that it could happen due to an abnormal interaction between the genes and non-genetic factors like environment.
Like other diseases, it could happen due to a number of other causes also that include smoking, alcohol, substance abuse, and drugs during pregnancy.
Is ADHD one of the disorders on the autism spectrum?
No, ADHD is not on the autism spectrum but they do share some common symptoms. This is why having one of these conditions may increase the chances of the other condition.
How can we cure ADHD?
Unfortunately, it could not be cured but managed only. These management methods are considered treatment plans. These plans include medication, behavioral therapy, counseling, and support.
Together, these things could help the person in communicating and coping with the condition in a better way.
How does an individual with ADHD think?
Generally, these people think that other people do not understand them. Due to this, these people are often alienated as they think that only a person with ADHD could understand them better.
Is it possible to outgrow ADHD?
As an estimate, about one-third of the children outgrow the condition and show no signs of the condition. The symptoms change as the kids get older and sometimes, they disappear completely.
Is ADHD a type of mental retardation?
This is yet to be confirmed. However, ADHD is more prevalent in kids having mental retardation. The testing methods are the same and an estimated prevalence is between 4 to 15 percent.
What are the people with ADHD good at?
Since these people see things from a different perspective, they are inventive, creative, and original. They approach tasks and other things in life from a different angle and are often more artistic and creative than non-ADHD people.
What food should a person with ADHD avoid?
Below is a list of food items that an individual with ADHD should avoid.
- Simple Carbohydrates
- Processed and Prepackaged Items
- Breakfast Cereals
- Artificial Sweeteners
Limiting or eliminating these items will help in keeping ADHD under check.