Meta: Learn the key symptoms of ADHD and how this condition could impact your ability to concentrate as well as your overall academic or workplace performance.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition, believed to affect 8.4% of children and approximately 2.5% of adults, according to the latest research. Some argue that it is over-diagnosed and that ADHD symptoms are a result of poor exercise and sleep. If you are wondering whether you or your loved one has this condition, it’s important to recognize the key symptoms that can be identified through a neuropsychological evaluation, sometimes called “neuro-psych eval,” or “ADHD testing.”
Symptoms Of ADHD
There are two main behavioral categories that comprise ADHD:
- Impulsiveness and hyperactivity
Inattentiveness refers to individuals struggling to concentrate or focus, or being easily distracted. Along with relevant symptoms of frequent forgetfulness and disorganization, inattention can impact academic performance and stop people from reaching their full potential.
Hyperactivity refers to a sense of physical restlessness, including urges to stand up and move around during situations when one is expected to remain seated (i.e., a classroom, restaurant, or place of worship). Frequent fidgeting is also a relevant symptom. Often accompanying hyperactivity is impulsivity, which is the inability to stop oneself from doing or saying things. This results in verbal impulsivity (i.e., interrupting others, failing to “think before you speak”) or behavioral impulsivity (failing to “think before you act”).
Individuals who have the Combined subtype will often experience both types of behavior — both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. However, this is not always the case. Other ADHD subtypes include ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Presentation and ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Presentation. Research suggests that approximately 3 in 10 people with ADHD will struggle to concentrate or focus but may not have issues with hyperactivity or impulsiveness. The differences among subtypes can be distinguished during a neurocognitive assessment.
Notably, individuals with inattentiveness will often have a short attention span and may make mistakes in school or at work. They could also appear forgetful or lose things frequently. Individuals can also find it difficult to remain focused on one task because their minds will often wander. This has inherent benefits, including creativity, innovative thinking, and humor; however, the inherent challenges include difficulties with detail-comprehension and organization.
Individuals with hyperactive and/or impulsive traits will find it difficult to sit still and remain calm for long periods. They will tend to struggle with patience (i.e., waiting for their turn) and will frequently interrupt people. They may also have little to no sense of danger and will often act without thinking carefully.
Children And Teenagers With ADHD
Children and teenagers with ADHD can display some or all of the symptoms mentioned above. Symptoms will often become noticeable by the age of 6, which can result in an early diagnosis.
If you think that you or a loved one is displaying symptoms of ADHD, it’s important to seek support from a professional and gain clarity about whether or not a formal diagnosis is warranted. A licensed psychologist can provide ADHD diagnostic testing services, which will provide the scaffolding needed to suggest appropriate treatments for you or your loved one. For example, most individuals respond well to cognitive-behavioral therapy and coaching with respect to time-management and sustaining healthy habits. Others may need additional tools, which may include medication.
The first step is to identify your cognitive profile (i.e., learning style), and other social-emotional and medical factors that impact attention — which is accomplished via an in-depth interview and psychological testing. Recommendations, via a written report, are tailored to your specific circumstances and will position you to better meet life’s demands, and improve your quality of life.
Feel free to contact us if you wish to receive additional information or an initial consult.