What are the symptoms and management of ADHD?
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that is common in children, teenagers, and adults. Males are more likely to suffer from ADHD than females. The symptoms of ADHD begin to appear before the age of 12 and persist into adulthood, causing significant problems.
The top symptoms of ADHD include:
- Inattention (inability to maintain concentration)
- Hyperactivity (the excessive movement that is inappropriate for the situation)
- Impulsivity (abrupt actions that occur at the moment without thought)
Other symptoms of ADHD that a child, teenager, or adult can experience might include:
- Forgetting about daily activities
- Avoiding tasks that require consistent mental effort
- Talking too much
- Making careless mistakes or taking unnecessary risks
- Losing items frequently
- Getting distracted by small things happening around them
- Poor time management skills
- Trouble coping with stress
Doctors diagnose ADHD by using a physical exam, medical history, ADHD rating scales, or psychological tests.
Management options for ADHD include psychological counselling, skill training, health education, medication management, and support groups.
Psychological counselling (psychotherapy) can help you improve your time-management and problem-solving skills. It can also help you improve your self-esteem and learn methods to develop good relations with your family and friends. The most common types of psychotherapy for ADHD include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Marital Counselling, and Family Therapy.
Skill training can also improve the behaviours of children or teenagers having ADHD.
Another crucial element of ADHD treatment is educating parents about the disorder and how to manage it.
The most commonly prescribed medications for treating ADHD include:
Stimulants help to balance levels of neurotransmitters. These medications include:
- Amphetamine (Adzenys XR ODT, Dyanavel)
- Methylphenidate (Metadate, Methylin, Quillivant, Ritalin)
- Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
- Dextroamphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine)
- Non-Stimulant Medications:
- Atomoxetine (Strattera)
- Guanfacine (Intuniv)
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRIs):
If stimulants cause severe side effects, doctors might prescribe SSRIs. These include:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
If you are considering or taking medication(s) to manage ADHD, pharmacogenetic testing can help ensure you are on the right medication for you, based on your DNA. 99% of individuals carry some genetic variants that can impact their response to medications, including ADHD meds. This explains why one medication does not always work for everyone and why some people also experience increased side-effects.
Support groups consist of people with similar issues and might assist you in learning more about ADHD and how to manage your symptoms.