Here at Largo Clinic, we believe in educating our patients in order to raise awareness for a variety of conditions. This month we would like to take a moment to provide some information about ADHD so you can understand the symptoms and better identify issues should they arise.
What is ADHD?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health disorder and learning disability that many adults and children alike may struggle with. Those who have been diagnosed with ADHD usually have issues with impulse, display hyperactive behaviors, and often struggle with focusing on tasks for long periods of time. Other common symptoms of ADHD include having trouble sitting still, frequently interrupting others when they are talking, and forgetfulness.
The signs of ADHD are largely dependent on the type of ADHD. There are three types: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, or a combination of both.
- Predominantly inattentive type: Those with this type of ADHD tend to have trouble following instructions, focusing, and completing tasks. This type is harder to diagnose particularly in children due to the fact that predominantly inattentive-type patients don’t often cause a disturbance in the classroom setting and thus do not draw attention to the fact that they are struggling.
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type: This type of ADHD is a little easier to identify as most of its symptoms are displayed physically. Those with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD tend to have trouble waiting their turn, frequently interrupt others when they are speaking, and fidget or have trouble sitting still. It is important to note that those with this type of ADHD can also have issues focusing on tasks, but this symptom is not always experienced.
- Combination type: Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD have this particular type. These patients display both hyperactive and inattentive behaviors such as difficulty paying attention, an abundance of energy, and the tendency to be impulsive.
When most people think about ADHD, they commonly associate the disorder with children. This is mostly because the disorder is often identified in a classroom setting when a child struggles to sit still or pay attention. However, ADHD can affect patients of all ages and can commonly go undiagnosed, especially for patients struggling with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD.
While there is no specific known cause for ADHD and no single test to detect its presence, your doctor can perform an evaluation that can help determine a diagnosis and treatment plan to best manage the disorder.
Treatment and Management
There are treatment and management options available to patients dealing with ADHD. Common recommendations may include behavioral therapies, medication, or a combination of both. The following natural therapies and lifestyle adaptations may also aid in ADHD treatment:
- Staying active with at least 1 hour of physical activity a day.
- Getting quality sleep. Adults should get between 7-9 hours, children should get between 9-13 hours, and teenagers and young adults should get between 8-11 hours a night.
- Limiting the amount of time you spend in front of a computer, TV, or smartphone during the day.
- Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet.
- Participating in yoga, tai chi, or mindfulness meditation as these practices help ease symptoms associated with ADHD.
- Spending time outdoors.
- Avoiding food additives when possible.
- Staying organized with lists and a calendar or daily schedule. This is particularly helpful for children who need help keeping track of their schoolwork and homework assignments.
One of the most important parts of identifying and managing ADHD is personal awareness. Whether you are monitoring your own behavior or the behavior of your child, it is important to seek treatment for ADHD. Coping with ADHD can be challenging as it affects various aspects of your everyday life including relationships both personally and professionally.