The Psychology Behind ADHD

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What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD is a behavioral disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. This disorder can occur in children, adolescents, and adults. Symptoms of ADHD begins in early childhood, but sometimes, it may not be diagnosed until an individual is an adult. Not all signs of ADHD are present in a person. There are combinations of symptoms that can be characterized, and each person has a different psychology.

Combined Presentation – symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are both present

Predominately Inattentive Presentation – Inattentiveness without the symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity

Predominately Hyperactivity – Impulsive Presentation – Hyperactivity/impulsivity without the symptoms of Inattention

Signs Of Inattention Includes

  • Difficulty paying close attention
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Trouble with listening
  • The trouble with following instructions
  • The trouble with organizing tasks
  • The trouble with tasks involving sustained mental effort
  • Problem with Focusing
  • Often loses things
  • Forgetful
  • Symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity
  • Fidgets with hand and legs
  • The trouble with being seated
  • Runs and climbs in inappropriate times and places
  • Difficulty engaging in quiet play
  • Always on the go
  • Difficulty waiting his/her turn
  • Interrupts others

Children with ADHD have problems in school, at home and with finding and keeping friends. These difficulties can lead to low self-esteem. Also, children with ADHD have low frustration tolerance and can have trouble finishing simple tasks in school and at home that often leads to learning disabilities, oppositional behaviors, and mood disorders.

Adults diagnosed with ADHD have difficulty with day to day tasks at work. They also have trouble with interpersonal relationships. Adults who are diagnosed seem to be disorganized and scattered.

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How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of ADHD is based on the patient’s reports though sometimes inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity can be symptoms of other underlying disorders such as anxiety. There are psychological tests available that doctors give their patients to determine if their symptoms are symptoms of ADHD and not entirely something else. A psychologist or psychiatrist should only make a diagnosis.

Who Can Diagnose And Treat ADHD?

Psychiatrist – a psychiatrist, is a medical doctor who specializes in treating mental disorders. They perform diagnosis and be able to prescribe specific medication to patients. The cost of seeing a psychiatrist is expensive ranging from $200 and more per hour. They might not be the best choice for someone with ADHD because they don’t have the training for counseling and helping a person with ADHD go about their regular life.

Psychologist – A psychologist can treat a person with ADHD through therapy, but he/she is not an MD, therefore, cannot prescribe medication to a patient. If medication is needed, he/she will have to go to a medical doctor or psychiatrist for a prescription.

Family Doctor – your family doctor, can help with the diagnosis of ADHD and may know a bit about the symptoms but will most likely not be able to treat ADHD.

Nurse Practitioner – just like your family doctor, a nurse practitioner can diagnose ADHD but will not be able to treat or perform therapies for the patient because there is a lack of practice and knowledge.

Neurologist – a neurologist, is a practitioner that focuses on the brain and nervous system. He/she could help determine if there are underlying problems such as seizure but cannot perform therapies to patients with ADHD. They might refer an EEG, but it is not recommended for people diagnosed with ADHD.

Master Level Counselor – he/she has a master/s degree either in psychology or counseling and can assess patients with ADHD if necessary though they might have a problem with diagnosis and will still need to refer a patient to a psychiatrist. He/she also cannot prescribe medication.

Social Worker – a Master of Social Welfare (MSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) are often employed by agencies to provide counseling to people who the agencies help, though they are inexpensive, they are not medical doctors and could have a different diagnosis than medical professionals. They only provide counseling and will still need to refer you to a professional.

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How Is ADHD Treated?

Cognitive – behavioral therapy and Medication are treatments for ADHD. This kind of therapy helps the patient to control his/her hyperactivity and inattentiveness. There are treatments for every combination, and this can help the patient to perform day to day tasks a little easier and can improve their focus and attention span.

Medications are also prescribed to patients. Most parents of young patients do not approve of medicine, though. Treating ADHD with medication only will not make any improvement when the drug stops. Most of the time, symptoms come back when the drug stops.

Treating ADHD can be a complicated thing if you do not have proper assessment and diagnosis. Always go to a professional who specializes with ADHD to prevent unnecessary expenses and for you to have the best diagnosis and treatments to help a loved one who is suffering from ADHD.

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