ADHD is a neurological and behavioural condition that affects concentration and possibly impulsivity. It’s often observed from 3 to 7 years of age, but can sometimes be diagnosed in later childhood, and adulthood.
It’s very common in children and manifests as a difficulty in paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity without considering the consequences. ADHD symptoms generally improve over time, but for some there might exist other disorders which can make things more difficult.
ADHD can be thought of as a broader spectrum for the three subtypes, which are distinguished by the symptoms that are most prevalent in the individual who experiences it. Subtypes:
• Predominantly Inattentive: Those who experience this subtype are more likely to struggle with organisation, attention, task completion, memory, following conversations and instructions, and being easily distracted.
• Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive: More likely to talk a lot, and be fidgety, restless, and impulsive. In younger children this may show as very active play (constantly running, climbing, and jumping). The impulsivity shows as interrupting others because waiting is difficult, taking things from them, and speaking out of turn. It’s also difficult to listen to directions, and individuals may be more accident prone and suffer more injuries.
• Combined: This is when there is a combination of both subtypes and this can change over time as symptoms change.
It’s not uncommon for those who experience ADHD to become less focused, or lost in daydreams. This is thought to be more common in females.
Some people with ADHD may talk a lot and interrupt conversations because they are unable to wait their turn.
Individuals can often feel tempted and unable to control their urges and resist their temptations.
Sometimes people forget things, this might relate to inattentiveness.
Sometimes people with ADHD can appear forgetful because of the tendency to misplace or lose things.
There’s nothing unusual about children having a short attention span or misbehaving now and then. For those who experience ADHD however, symptoms persist and can be severe, causing problems at home, school, and in relationships.
Often individuals will experience relationship problems because they find it difficult to get along with others.
Individuals who experience hyperactivity and impulsiveness can feel restless and fidgety. They may be unable to sit still, fidget constantly, and experience excessive physical movement.
Individuals can partake in risky behaviour, often not considering the safety of themselves or others. An example of this could be dangerous driving.
Although there is research going on in the area to help manage and reduce the risk of a person having ADHD, it is not yet known what the cause is. Notwithstanding there are some ideas about possible contributors:
Our therapists will offer psychoeducation. Essentially this is learning more about the condition by openly discussing it with your therapist, helping to bring understanding and debunk any preconceived misconceptions, leading to better informed ways of coping and managing.
We can also offer behavioural therapy. This kind of approach is focussed on modifying behaviour, reinforcing useful behaviours via a reward system, and also working toward reducing less helpful behaviours.
And social skills training. By using role play scenarios, individuals can learn to understand how their own behaviour impacts others, and learn social skills that will better serve them and their relationships.
Or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). By reframing how you think, you can change how you behave, and in turn how you feel about a situation. This can create new ways of dealing with situations that are more conducive and helpful.
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