Understanding ADHD and Identifying its Core Symptoms
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that affects a group of skills known as executive function. Executive function, includes the mind's ability to focus, the ability to store and manage information in short term memory, and organizational skills. The core symptoms of ADHD include impulsivity, hyperactivity, inattention, and distractibility. Such symptoms impact children’s academic functioning as well as their social interactions, and often strain family relationships as well.
Over the years, there have been many misconceptions about ADHD. It was originally thought that the disorder was strictly related to children- young boys in particular. However, it is now known that ADHD can affect both boys and girls from an early age, and continue on to adulthood. Though symptoms of hyperactivity are reduced with age, difficulties with attention and impulsivity persist even in adulthood.
There have also been many debates about the causes of ADHD. There is now evidence of organic differences in the brain- specifically in the development of the prefrontal lobe. There is also genetic evidence as heritability of ADHD is substantial, especially in first degree biological relatives of those diagnoses with ADHD. Finally, consideration is also given to differences in cultural attitudes toward children’s behaviors.
ADHD begins in childhood and parents often report excessive motor activity in toddlerhood. However, ADHD is most often diagnosed in elementary aged children as symptoms of inattentiveness and distractibility become more prominent and reduced school performance and academic attainment is observed.
There are three diagnosable types of ADHD depending on presented symptoms:
-ADHD Combined Type- both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are present
-ADHD Inattentive Type- only issues of inattention are present
-careless mistakes, difficulty remaining focused, easily sidetracked, disorganized work, often loses/misplaces things
-ADHD Hyperactive/Impulsive Type- mostly symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present
-Appears fidgety, has trouble remaining in place, cannot wait for turn, feelings of restlessness
It is best for evaluation and diagnosis to be conducted by a specialist who understands ADHD. Often times other issues can co-occur with ADHD or symptoms can be
mistaken for ADHD.
Dr. Sepideh Homayoonfar is a licensed child clinical psychologist located in Great Neck, NY who specializes in comprehensive pediatric evaluations. Should results warrant a diagnosis, she can help parents and their child better understand ADHD, develop better coping strategies, and improve organizational skills.
Please feel free to email us or call our office at 516-484-1200 for a free phone consultation and any other questions that you may have!