April 6, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About ADHD: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is not just about being overly energetic. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults, with approximately 5% of children and 2.5% of adults having been diagnosed with this condition in Canada.

Understanding ADHD

ADHD is a disorder that involves attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Depending on the person, the symptoms of ADHD can be persistent and negatively impact their daily lives. Those who have ADHD tend to lose their ability to focus on anything, learn from school or work, as well as socializing with other people. The symptoms of ADHD usually appear before the age of 12, and it can go on until adulthood if left untreated.

What are the 9 symptoms of ADHD?

The 9 symptoms of ADHD are categorized into two main types: inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

The symptoms of inattention include:

  • Forgetfulness  
  • Not listening when spoken to directly  
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities  
  • Being easily distracted by external stimuli  
  • Losing things necessary for tasks or activities  
  • Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort  
  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities  
  • Difficulty paying attention to details and making careless mistakes
  • Difficulty following through on instructions and failing to finish tasks

The symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity include:

  • Talking excessively  
  • Being always on the go  
  • Difficulty staying seated  
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn  
  • Running or climbing excessively  
  • Interrupting or intruding on others
  • Fidgeting with or tapping hands or feet
  • Difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Blurting out answers before questions have been completed

What are the 3 Signs of ADHD in Children?

To identify ADHD in children, you have to be observant and early when it comes to detection and seeking clinical help. And while many of the symptoms of ADHD are normal behaviours for children, if you notice the following three signs, you may want to consider seeking a professional evaluation:

  • Difficulty with focus and attention: Children with ADHD usually find it harder to concentrate on tasks or follow instructions than normal children would. Things like completing their homework, listening in class, or organizing their belongings may also be a struggle to them.
  • Impulsive behaviour: Children with ADHD may act impulsively, without thinking through the consequences of their actions. Some of the things they may do include interrupting others, speaking even when it’s not their turn, or engaging in risky behaviours.
  • Hyperactivity: Lastly, children with ADHD may be restless and have difficulty sitting still, squirming in their seats, fidgeting with objects, or tirelessly running around.

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What causes ADHD in the brain?

While the exact cause of ADHD remains unknown, most psychologists would agree that genetics, environmental factors, and brain structure all play a role in the development of ADHD. Studies have shown that those who are living with ADHD have differences in the structure and functioning of certain areas of the brain (basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum) compared to normal brains.

Is ADHD a form of autism?

No, it’s not, as ADHD and autism are two different conditions that share only a few similar symptoms. But while both conditions can affect a person’s social skills and behaviour, ADHD is primarily a disorder of has to do with someone’s attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.  

Autism, on the other hand, is a disorder that affects the social communication and behaviour of a person. Although some individuals with ADHD may have traits of autism, the two conditions are distinct and require different approaches for management and treatment.

How does a person with ADHD feel like?

Those with ADHD may find it hard to focus and sustain their attention, engage in impulsivity, and become hyperactive. Most of them struggle with time management, organization, and planning.  

Other sufferers of ADHD may also have difficulty when it comes to regulating their emotions, which can cause them to have mood swings or emotional outbursts. However, on a more positive note, those with ADHD tend to be highly creative, energetic, and enthusiastic.

The 3 Types of ADHD

There are three types of ADHD: inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type, and combined type. Understanding the differences between the types can help individuals and their loved ones better understand their symptoms and develop effective treatment plans.

Remember that the severity and number of symptoms vary widely among those with ADHD, regardless of their type. Professional evaluations and personalized treatment plans are the most ideal way to help those with ADHD manage their symptoms and improve their daily life in turn.

How Do We Treat ADHD?

ADHD is managed through medication, therapy, and some lifestyle changes on the client’s part. Medication can help prolong their attention span, reduce their impulsivity and hyperactivity, and stabilize their mood.  

Therapy will definitely help those with ADHD learn new coping strategies, develop organizational skills, and improve their social and communication skills with other people. Meanwhile, lifestyle changes like exercising, eating healthy, and sleeping early can also help reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

In Summary

All in all, ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and brain structure.  

ADHD can be effectively managed with a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Archways Centre for CBT is a psychology practice that offers psychoeducational assessments and evidence-based therapies to help individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms and improve their daily life.

How Archways Can Help You with ADHD

Archways Centre for CBT is a psychology practice based in London, Ontario that provides psychoeducational assessments and clinical diagnoses for children, adolescents and adults. We then provide treatment recommendations, whether it’s ADHD coaching, a referral for medication, or CBT for anxiety.  

Archways Centre for CBT offers a hybrid model of in-person and virtual sessions using secure video. However, psychoeducational assessments do require you or your child to be seen in-person for a full day of testing. For more information, reach us at (519) 472-6612.