If you think that you or your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you might want to consider speaking to your GP about it.
If you're worried about your child, it may help to speak to their teachers before seeing your GP, to find outiftheyhave any concerns about your child's behaviour.
Your GP can't formally diagnose ADHD, but they can discuss your concerns with you and refer you for a specialist assessment, if necessary.
When you see your GP, they may ask you:
If your GP thinks your child may have ADHD, they may first suggest a period of "watchful waiting" lasting around 10 weeksto see if your child's symptoms improve, stay the same or get worse. They may also suggeststarting a parent training or education programme to teach you ways of helping your child (seetreating ADHD for more information).
If your child's behaviour doesn't improve, and both you and your GPbelieve it's seriously affecting their day-to-day life, your GP should refer you and your child to a specialist for a formal assessment (see below).
For adults with possible ADHD, your GP will assess your symptoms and may refer you for an assessment if:
You may also be referred to a specialist if you had ADHD as a child or young person, and your symptoms are now causing moderate or severe functional impairment.
There are a number of different specialists that you or your child may be referred to for a formal assessment, including:
Who you're referred to depends on your age and what's available in your local area.
There's no simple test to determine whether you or your child have ADHD, but your specialist can make an accurate diagnosis after a detailed assessment that may include:
The criteria for making a diagnosis of ADHD in children, teenagers and adults are outlined below.
Diagnosing ADHD in children depends on a set of strict criteria. To be diagnosed with ADHD, your child must have six or more symptoms of inattentiveness, or six or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
However, undercurrent diagnostic guidelines, a diagnosis of ADHD in adults can't be confirmed unless your symptoms have been present from childhood.
If you find it difficult to remember whether you had problems as a child, or you weren't diagnosed with ADHD when you were younger, your specialist may wish to see your old school records or talk to your parents, teachers or anyone else who knew you well when you were a child.
For an adult to be diagnosed with ADHD, their symptoms should also have a moderate impact on different areas of their life, such as:
If your problems are recent and didn't occur regularly in the past, you're not considered to have ADHD. This is because it's currently not thought that ADHD can develop for the first time in adults.
<p><strong>ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a condition that comprises a variety of symptoms including: reduced attention span, hyperreactivity, or depending on the situation, apathy (patient is disinterested or apathetic in situations where their behavior should be otherwise). This condition may affect children or adults. Usually, this condition is diagnosed when children begin going to school, around the age of 6 or 12 years old. This condition is sometimes accompanied with a disruption of the normal sleep cycle, and increased anxiety. Parents must consult with specialized teachers and medical professionals for the diagnostication of ADHD.</strong></p>
<p><strong>ADHD symptoms include:</strong></p><p><strong>1. Lack of attention</strong><br /><strong>This includes a short attention spam, and easily distracted by whatever is going on around them, they make frequent mistakes while doing homework, they forget or lose their belongings, they complete work slowly, and submit it behind deadlines, they do not heed the advice of parents or teachers, have a tendency to become asiocial or problematic in relation to their peers. </strong></p><p><strong>2. Hyper-reaction and hypo-reaction</strong></p><p><strong>This includes an inability to remain calm, especially when they are in a quiet environment, excessive talking and movement, fidgeting, they cannot stand in a queue, they make thoughtless decisions, prone to interrupting others loudly, have a skewed ability to gauge risk.</strong></p><p><strong>Many patients may exhibit a combination of the above, others may not. In adults, other symptoms may be visible, such as a lack of attention for detail, trying to perform many tasks at once, disorganized, answering loudly and interrupting others, etc. During the patient's transition from child to adult, many of the symptoms of ADHD become reduced or less visible, at least in 65% of patients up to 25 years old. </strong></p>
<p><strong>The causes of ADHD are not completely known, albeit researchers have been able to discover a combination of factors that may be reponsible for this condition. These factors include:</strong></p><p><strong>1. Genetic factor: You can be more predisposed to developing ADHD, if your parents also have ADHD. Children of parents with ADHD are 4 times more likely to develop ADHD. </strong></p><p><strong>2. Researchers have been able to observe differences in brain function between what is called a neutorypical brain and an ADHD brain.</strong></p><p><strong>3. Other potential causes or risk factors include premature birth, being born underweight, brain damage in the uterus, trauma during birth or in the early days or years following birth, the consumption of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs during pregnancy, the exposure to toxic substances at an early age etc. </strong></p><p> </p>
<p><strong>The following steps can be taken in order to diagnose a patient with ADHD. If you are a parent, and notice that something is not right with your child, you should speak to their teacher, and take additional care to carefully follow your child's progress. Furthermore, you may decide to meet with a medical professional, who will most likely ask you for the following details: the symptoms you have noticed, when they have begun , whether the symptoms occur while your child is at school or at home, whether the symptoms occur daily, whether the child has difficulty socializing, whether a significant event has occured in your family recently (such as divorce or the death of a loved one), and if you have a family history of ADHD or other conditions. A doctor may decide in employing in a period of probation for around 10 weeks in order to observe the symptoms, how frequent and aggravated they are, and depending on the result, they may refer you to a joint consulatiton with a psychiatrist, pediatrician, a disability specialist and a therapist. They conduct a physical examination and a conversation with you and your child. In order for an ADHD diagnosis to be made, your child has to exhibit at least 6 or more hyperactivity symptoms, or 6 or more hypoactivity symptoms. In the case of adults, a thorough patient history must be taken, in order to be able to discover vital information about the patient's childhood, which is usually when ADHD symptoms become visible. </strong></p>
<p><strong>Treatment consists in alleviating symptoms. Especially for younger ages affected by this condition, it is highly important to employ treatment with therapy sessions with an ADHD specialist. In order to alleviate the symptoms, medication is often used. They usually aid the patient to concentrate better, be less impulsive, feel calmer and find it easier to study and learn.</strong></p><p><strong>Examples of medication used to treat ADHD includes methylphnidate, dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine. Other medications include atomocetine, guanfacine, etc. Side effects for these types of medication range from mild to severe. It is important to carefully monitor the symptoms of your child in order to be able to stop medication when the symptoms have subsided. For all ages affected by ADHD, it is recommended to follow a treatment plan that includes psychoeducation, group therapy, training of parents and teachers, social training, cognitive therapy (a type of therapy that teaches the patients how they think and act and helps them change their behavioral patterns). It is also important to supervise the diet of affected individuals in order to avoid the consumption of foods high in sugar, artificial pigments or cafeine. These compounds may aggravate the symptoms. </strong></p><p> </p>
<p><strong>Useful advice for parents of children or young adults suffering from ADHD includes:</strong></p><p><strong>Keeping a journal where you can plan out their daily activities, handing out clearly defined tasks for them to complete, setting clear boundaries and deadlines for the completion of the task, establish a positive reward system, make sure to shelter the individual from situations known to frustrate them or cause them to lose control, enforcing an exercise regimen and a healthy diet which does not include foods that may cause aggravation of symptoms, enforce a healthy sleeping regimen, and avoid activities before sleep such as watching TV or using a computer.</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p>