ADHD: what it is, treatment, symptoms, ADHD at school and more

Firstly, it is necessary to clarify that ADHD is not a disease, but a disorder, so there is no cure for the problem but it has treatment. ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And ADD is just the attention deficit.

There are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive / compulsive and also combined. The problem can arise for several causes, including heredity.

It is known that 3 to 5% of children suffer from the problem in several regions where the disorder has been studied. Most of the time the problem usually occurs after childhood, although the symptoms subside with advancing age.

There are doubts as to whether the disorder is even recognized or not. The problem not only exists, it is recognized in the United States and protected by law for students with ADHD to receive different treatment.

What many people usually say is that the disorder is invented and that it is just a “freshness”, but when they say it, they do not present reports, nor publications in scientific magazines or congresses on the subject. They are just “guesses” that can be caused by innocence or even bad faith.

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by hyperactivity, distraction, agitation, disorganization, forgetfulness, impulsivity and other specific characteristics of the disorder.

People who suffer from the disorder, most of the time are creative, intuitive and intelligent, but because of the disorder, they are unable to achieve their goals. Getting low marks, not being able to stay in the same place for a long time, having difficulty concentrating, being unable to finish activities and disorganization are very common characteristics of people who suffer from the problem.

What are the types and symptoms of ADHD?

There are three types of ADHD: the inattentive type, the hyperactive type and the combined type, which is the junction of the two previously mentioned. To check the symptoms of each of them, continue reading this topic.

Inattentive ADHD (ADD)

  • Difficulty maintaining concentration for a long time on a certain subject (unless there is a lot of interest).
  • Make several mistakes for lack of attention. Distraction with his own reverie.
  • Do not want to start activities that require mental effort.
  • Forget what you were going to say, give it a “blank”.
  • Difficulty organizing with time planning and also with objects (drawers, tables, papers).
  • Do not listen when they call you, appearing to be disinterested or selfish.

Hyperactive / impulsive ADHD (ADD)

  • Restlessness, not being able to stay still. They move hands and / or feet when they are seated and cannot sit in one place for long.
  • Has a tendency to addiction: games, alcohol, drugs, internet.
  • He does not know how to deal with frustrations, he has no tolerance.
  • He has an explosive temper.
  • They make changes in plans unexpectedly.
  • They do many things at the same time, they don’t like boredom.
  • It is seen as immature.
  • It can often be difficult to express yourself, speech does not keep up with the speed of the mind.

ADHD (ADD) combined type

It is necessary that the person has the combination of several characteristics in order to be diagnosed with the combined type, which is the sum of inattentiveness with hyperactivity.

Children under the age of 7 may suffer from inattention and hyperactivity. One of the biggest problems for people with ADHD is that they seem to pay attention to what they are told, but the information is not absorbed.

How ADHD manifests itself in different stages of life

Children with ADHD feel impatient, they prefer to work with immediate things and smaller, but also immediate rewards, than something that takes work to complete and that the reward is better than the other offered.

There are also specific symptoms at each stage of life. Babies have different characteristics than adults, for example. Thinking about it, we separated the main symptoms in phases, check below:

Babies

They have more colic, they are angry, they are difficult to be comforted, they have difficulties to sleep and also to feed themselves.

Early childhood

They are disobedient, restless, agitated children, easily irritated and are almost never satisfied.

Second childhood

Children get distracted very easily, there is a lot of variation in school performance, it is difficult to concentrate and very often this type of child gets involved in fights.

Adolescence

People in this phase of life with ADHD tend to be restless, unable to stay focused, have memory problems, are impulsive and there is a high chance of substance abuse.

Adults

They tend to make many mistakes in activities that need concentration, are impatient and clumsy, miss deadlines, compromises, are easily distracted, lose interest in a certain subject very easily and are restless.

ADHD at school and in adults

Children and adolescents who have the disorder are often harmed at school. Be it due to the difficulty of concentration in classes and consequently the drop in grades. In addition, these children and adolescents are rejected by their colleagues because of their characteristics. When there is monitoring and treatment by professionals, children are able to behave just like their peers, improving their interaction.

Adults with the disorder usually suffer in the workplace and also in their relationships with friends, spouses and relatives. Professional instability, lower than expected performance, difficulty following routines and procrastination are common characteristics that complicate the relationship and professional performance of patients with ADHD.

There are some tips for adults with the disorder to get better organized. Practicing exercises, eating the right way, sleeping the necessary hours daily, managing your time, having an agenda for organizing your appointments, getting to your appointments early are some tips. It is recommended to start by creating a short routine, with few items, and by mastering it, increase the number of items.

What are the causes?

Studies indicate that ADHD causes changes in the brain. There are changes in the frontal region and its connections with the rest of the brain. The frontal region is responsible for the ability to pay attention, organization, planning, memory and self-control.

The altered part of people who have the disorder is in the functioning of neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass information between neurons.

Many people used to believe that the causes were cultural, in how parents raised and educated their children, but that fell apart when studies showed that there is a prevalence of ADHD in different regions around the world.

Heredity

Another factor that can cause ADHD is heredity. Children who have parents who have the disorder are 2 to 10 times more likely to also have the problem than the rest of the population. This is known as familial recurrence.

This is also due to environmental influences. What the child learns at home, he repeats, behaving in the same way. If the parents are inattentive, it also becomes. It was necessary to prove that familial recurrence is a genetic predisposition and not just something behavioral in relation to the environment.

Lead exposure

Children who have been exposed to lead can suffer from ADHD. It is possible to identify only with the clinical history, it is not necessary to do any blood test to prove that there is a change in the level of lead in the body.

Substances ingested during pregnancy

Alcohol and nicotine can cause changes in the newborn’s brain. Mothers who have problems with alcohol are more likely to have children with attention problems and hyperactivity.

Fetal suffering

Women who had problems and complications during childbirth, causing suffering to the fetus are also more likely to have children with ADHD.

Other causes

There are also some causes that were previously accepted but have now been ruled out. They are:

  • Family problems;
  • Artificial light;
  • Hormonal deficiency;
  • Aspartame;
  • Vitamin deficiencies in the diet.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of children is made with the collaboration of parents, teachers and specialized professionals. The diagnosis of adults can be made with the help of professionals along with the help of family members or partners.

The professionals trained to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are: neuropediatricians, neurologists, psychologists, ophthalmologists, speech therapists, psychomotricists, otorhinolaryngologists, psychopedagogists, psychiatrists and pedagogues.

Common behaviors in adults who have ADHD:

  • Procrastination (being distracted by not so important matters leaving the main one to the last minute).
  • Despite dominating the subject, make silly mistakes for lack of attention.
  • Be disorganized and always be late.
  • Being anxious, stressed and angry.
  • Not being able to control oneself, behaving inappropriately, which can lead to conflicts in the workplace, in the family or in the social group.
  • Mood swings.

Comorbidity (coexistence of disorders or diseases) in adults can also occur. Some of the disorders are:

ADHD with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)

If the patient worries too much about things that are out of place, future mistakes due to distraction, repetitive thoughts, obsessions and other things, can develop OCD . Symptoms vary widely, such as, obsession with contamination, religion, symmetry, order, sexuality, aggressiveness and even, storage.

ADHD with phobia

As there is a lot of inattention, ADHD patients are afraid of being criticized, mocked and ridiculed and may develop social phobia . Phobias can also be developed by situations or objects, fear of storms, elevator, airplane, blood, animals and others.

Common behaviors in children and adolescents who have ADHD:

  • Difficulty in learning.
  • Despite dominating the subject, make silly mistakes for lack of attention.
  • Difficulty in interpersonal relationships.
  • Disorganization.
  • Change in weight.

The presence of other disorders associated with ADHD in children and adolescents can occur in 50% of cases.

ADHD with conduct disorder (CT)

Children with this problem tend to lie, run away from school or home, be cruel to animals, people and even steal or kill. There are high chances of these people being obsessed with sex. They may have been victims of rape.

ADHD with opposing challenging disorder (ODD)

It is the most common comorbidity among ADHD. Almost 65% of cases can suffer from this problem. It is characterized by challenging behavior towards parents and teachers. Disobeying and coping are common characteristics in this type of children and adolescents. They feel wronged by so much demand and punishment, causing aggression, low self-esteem and antisocial disorders.

ADHD with sleep disorder

The lack of sleep of people who suffer from these disorders can occur due to the large number of thoughts that go through the minds of people with ADHD. Thus, the brain is unable to rest causing anxiety . With a lack of sleep, the next day becomes a nightmare. Waking up and attending classes becomes an impossible mission.

Performing physical activities, sleeping on your side and turning off the computer 1 hour before bed, at least, can help in a better night. People who use cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and caffeine should eliminate these products.

ADHD with depression

Younger children may experience depression because of decreased growth and weight gain. Depressed teenagers look for alternatives to alcohol and drug abuse.

ADHD with anxiety disorder

This disorder occurs when the worry and fears become excessive causing damage to academic, personal and even family life. This type of person is always concerned with their own performance. If the problem is not treated it can be transformed into depression.

ADHD with communication disorder

Communication disorders can be divided into three categories in ADHD patients:

  • Dyslexia: problems in understanding and producing statements. Vocabulary is limited and there is difficulty in learning to read and write.
  • Disafasia: characterized by difficulty in motor control of speech, there are articulatory changes, accelerated speech and modulation in the voice.
  • Dysgraphia: the handwriting is usually bad. There is a lack of motor coordination, poor spatial organization and difficulty in tracing.

Tests

In order for the diagnosis to be given accurately, questionnaires, tests and assessments are made with patients, family members and even with their teachers. There are ready-made questionnaires in which some symptoms of the patient are signaled and also if it contains characteristics of the disorder.

But it is necessary to understand that it is not only the questionnaire that certifies whether or not the disorder exists. It takes an average of 6 months of conversations, analyzes, tests and consultations for the diagnosis to be made by trained professionals.

The questions in the questionnaires and tests can vary according to the age of the patient with the characteristics that he has.

It is always necessary to be working with a professional who understands the subject, so that there is no waste of time and so that the results appear faster, bringing a quality of life to the patient, teachers and family.

How is the treatment for ADHD done and who are the specialized professionals?

After a professional gives the diagnosis, treatment of structural and organizing psychotherapy, coaching, brain gymnastics and biofeedback is necessary in the child or adult, involving the family and often the use of medication.

Medicines indicated for ADHD

The drugs indicated in the treatment of the disorder need a prescription, as most have a black stripe. The best known and recommended medicines by doctors are:

  • Ritalin
  • Concerta
  • Efexor XR
  • Venvanse
  • Strattera
  • Tofranil
  • Pamelor
  • Wellbutrin

It is necessary to make patients aware that some patients suffer from side effects, such as nausea, lack of appetite and not being able to perform two activities at the same time. It is also possible for irritation to occur during the period that the medication is having an effect on the patient’s body.

Attention! 

NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained on this site is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

How to live with those who have ADHD

It is necessary to be patient with ADHD patients, because very possibly he will forget some things or he will not be able to spend a lot of time doing the same activity.

Children who suffer from the problem sometimes need school reinforcement and differentiated support at school. Parents must place limits and rules at home.

It is also very important to praise so that self-esteem increases and the child feels confident to carry out his activities. In the same way that criticisms must be analyzed before they are given to ADHD patients, as self-esteem can be undermined.

Prevention

There is no way to avoid the disorder, as it is often hereditary. What can be done is to take care of yourself during pregnancy and not to go to places that have a high incidence of lead.

Complications

The complication usually only appears in patients who are not diagnosed or treated for the disorder. For them, self-esteem can be lowered indefinitely, as they will not be able to carry out their activities, feeling increasingly failed, whether adults or children / adolescents.

In addition, another complication already mentioned above are the side effects of the medications.


ADHD is a well-known disorder that has been treated for a few years. It is always necessary to consult with someone specialized and follow-up that can last for years with a psychopedagogue or psychiatrist. There are cases in which the specialist discharges the patient and shows that he can live with the problem without the help of medication.

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