ADHD is a mental health condition that causes problems with attention and hyperactivity. The symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to focus on tasks and lead to poor school performance, interpersonal relationships and problems at work.
Symptoms of ADHD appear during childhood and can persist into adolescence or adulthood, but they usually aren’t diagnosed until a person is an adult. This disorder can have serious consequences for people, including school failure and family stress, depression and problems with relationships, substance abuse, delinquency and accidental injuries.
There are two types of ADHD — inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. The symptoms of inattentive ADHD can be more severe and may include difficulty sitting still or waiting your turn, fidgeting and being constantly active. The symptoms of hyperactive/impulsive ADHD can be more subtle and include problems with organization, following rules and getting along with others.
Diagnosis of ADHD takes place by a doctor or other medical professional who performs a thorough examination and collects information about the patient’s past history. A proper diagnosis is critical, since it allows for treatment. It also helps rule out other disorders or conditions that might cause similar symptoms, according to CHADD.
Medications for ADHD are available in many forms, such as stimulants, antidepressants and nonstimulants. Some of these medicines increase the amount of a chemical called norepinephrine in the brain, which is needed to control impulses.
Stimulant medications can have some side effects, but most of them are not harmful. They can affect your blood pressure and heart rate, which may make you feel anxious or increase your risk of heart disease or a stroke. They can also affect your stomach, making you eat more and cause vomiting or nausea.
Other common side effects of ADHD medications include tics, which are sudden and repetitive movements or sounds such as eye blinking, throat clearing or sneezing. They’re more noticeable when a person takes a stimulant medication than they would be without the medicine.
Growth reduction: Some children and adolescents who take ADHD medications experience a small, temporary growth delay, but it doesn’t affect their final height. This is not uncommon and is not dangerous, but it’s important to tell your doctor if you have a history of heart problems or other health issues.
Psychotherapy for ADHD: Behavior therapy is a treatment option that can help people with ADHD learn to manage their behavior and improve their daily functioning. They can learn ways to control their impulses, stay focused on tasks and regulate their emotions.
Parents often use behavioral therapy to teach their children how to manage their behavior, and it’s a good idea for all parents to learn about it so that they can support their child in the best way possible. This can include teaching your child how to manage their ADHD symptoms and be supportive of them at home and at school.
Other treatments are available, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or specialized diets that can help manage ADHD symptoms and reduce the risks of future problems. These options are used in addition to or instead of medications for ADHD.