How to Know If You Have ADHD
If you think you or your child might have ADHD, talk to your family doctor. They may not carry out a full evaluation but can provide a referral to health professionals who can.
For a diagnosis, symptoms must be present before age 12 and cause problems in multiple settings. These include school, work, home and social relationships.
What Are The Symptoms Of ADHD
ADHD is a complex disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and, in some cases, hyperactivity. It is a biological and environmental condition that can affect your ability to concentrate, organize, and manage time.
It can also manifest as problems in your daily functioning and relationships. People with untreated ADHD often have difficulty balancing work, home, and other responsibilities. They may be more likely to procrastinate or lose track of their finances. They might have trouble keeping up with their health care routines and medication.
Symptoms usually appear in childhood and persist into adulthood. To be diagnosed, symptoms must cause significant difficulty at school and in daily life. Children and teens who have ADHD can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The most common symptoms include:
Causes Of ADHD
The causes of ADHD aren’t fully understood, but experts believe it is related to how your brain develops. Symptoms can also be influenced by genetics and environment. ADHD can lead to problems at school, work and home. You might have trouble keeping track of appointments and bills, make careless mistakes or overestimate how long it takes you to complete a task. Women have a harder time getting diagnosed, because they are better at hiding their symptoms.
Kids who show the hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD present six or more symptoms in this category. They often fidget, have trouble sitting still and interrupt others frequently. They may also be forgetful and act without thinking things through first. This type of ADHD typically affects younger children. It’s the least common presentation of ADHD.
Getting Diagnosed With ADHD
It’s important to get diagnosed before adulthood, because ADHD symptoms typically develop during childhood and can have a negative impact on multiple aspects of a person’s life. Getting a diagnosis can help you understand why you’re so easily distracted, forgetful or impulsive, and it can also teach you strategies to manage your symptoms.
To be diagnosed with ADHD, a mental health professional will evaluate your symptoms in several settings, including work and home. Spouses, family members and other caregivers may also provide input.
In addition, to be diagnosed with ADHD, your symptoms must cause impairment in two major areas of your life. Having difficulty at school or work is often the first sign of impairment. Some people with ADHD experience impairment in their social lives as well.
Risk Factors Of ADHD
While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, it is known that genes and heredity play a role. Children are more likely to have ADHD if one or both of their parents have it. Also, it is more common for symptoms to appear before the age of 12.
Having a history of head injuries, extreme stress during pregnancy and exposure to alcohol or drugs while a woman was pregnant are all associated with an increased risk for developing ADHD. Children born prematurely or with low birth weight are also at greater risk for this condition.
Researchers believe that both rare and multiple common genetic variants contribute to the development of ADHD. However, it is also thought that non-genetic factors are involved and influence the onset of this disorder.
Complications Of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD can make it difficult to succeed at school or work. They can also affect relationships. But treatment can help. Talking with a health care provider is the first step. They can refer you to a mental health professional for an evaluation.
A psychiatric evaluation may include a description of symptoms by the person, and ratings from caregivers and teachers. It might also involve completing scales and checklists. The provider will also look at medical and family history.
Symptoms of ADHD can vary over time. In childhood, hyperactivity and impulsivity are usually the most prominent. As a person enters adolescence, the symptoms of inattention and restlessness become more prominent. To be diagnosed with ADHD, a child’s provider must identify at least six symptoms and determine that these have significantly interfered with functioning.