Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States among children, affecting nearly 10% of all children between the ages of 3 and 17. It can also occur in adults, affecting up to about 5% of all adults in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors must determine if a patient’s symptoms demonstrate a clear pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity to diagnose ADHD. For children, six or more of these symptoms must remain consistent for at least six months; for adults, only five symptoms need to present in this manner to provide a diagnosis.
Some common symptoms of inattention that doctors may take into consideration when diagnosing ADHD include:
- Failure to pay close attention to tasks during school, work, or other activities
- Difficulty holding attention on tasks or play activities
- Failure to listen when spoken to directly
- Failure to follow through on instructions for schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
- Frequent trouble organizing tasks and activities
- Avoidance, dislike, or reluctance to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)
- Frequently losing things necessary for tasks and activities
- Often easily distracted
- Often forgetful in daily activities
Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, on the other hand, often display persistent, excessively high energy levels in a variety of settings and activities. Some of these symptoms include:
- Frequent fidgeting with or tapping hands or feet, or squirming in seat
- Frequently leaving seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
- Often running about or climbing in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may just feel restless)
- Inability to play or take part in leisure activities quietly
- Excessive talking
- Blurting out an answer before a question has been completed
- Often interrupting or intruding on others
Several symptoms from either of these categories need to have been present before the age of 12 and in two or more settings (such as at work, school, or home). There also needs to be clear evidence that these symptoms are disrupting the individual’s normal functions in school, work, or social settings, and that the symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder.
Whether you’re an adult with symptoms of ADHD or the parent of a child presenting these symptoms, it’s essential to begin working with a doctor to get the medical care needed to manage these symptoms and reduce their disruptions to daily life as much as possible. You can schedule an appointment for diagnosis and treatment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 206-7001.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.