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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) Diagnosis, Types, Causes, Symptoms

August 21, 2022



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The estimated number of children aged 3–17 years ever diagnosed with ADHD, according to a national survey of parents,1 is 6 million (9.8%) using data from 2016-2019.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. A chronic condition includes attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Many children with ADHD also have other disorders

  • According to a national 2016 parent survey,1 6 in 10 children with ADHD had at least one other mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
  • About half of the children with ADHD had a behavior or conduct problem.
  • About 3 in 10 children with ADHD had anxiety.
  • Other conditions affecting children with ADHD: depression, autism spectrum disorder, and Tourette syndrome.

children with ADHD

Types of ADHD

1. Inattentive Type

A person with this type must have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of the hyperactive-impulsive type:

  • Not paying attention to detail
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Failing to pay attention and keep on task
  • Not listening

2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
To have this type, a person has to have at least six of these nine symptoms, and very few of the symptoms of inattentive type:

  • Fidgeting
  • Getting up often when seated
  • Running or climbing at inappropriate times
  • Having trouble playing quietly

3. Combined Type
This is the most common type of ADHD. People with it have symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be categorised into 2 types of behavioural problems:

  • inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
  • hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • Many people with ADHD have problems that fall into both these categories, but this is not always the case.
  • For example, around 2 to 3 in 10 people with the condition have problems with concentrating and focusing, but not with hyperactivity or impulsiveness.

Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)

The main signs of inattentiveness are:

  • having a short attention span and being easily
  • distracted
    making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
    appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick to tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
    constantly changing activity or task
    having difficulty organizing tasks

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness

The main signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness are:

  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
    being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • being unable to wait their turn
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger

Causes of ADHD

  • Brain injury.
  • Exposure to environmental risks (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during
  • pregnancy.
  • Premature delivery.
  • Low birth weight.

ADHD diagnosis

To be diagnosed with ADHD, your child must have 6 or more symptoms of inattentiveness or 6 or more symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

To be diagnosed with ADHD, your child must also have: been displaying symptoms continuously for at least 6 months. started to show symptoms before the age of 12.

A thorough ADHD diagnosis includes symptom tests and interviews, plus a medical history evaluation to rule out any other conditions.

  • References:
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Published August 21, 2022

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