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ADHD in Children, Adolescents, and Adults

The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders no longer includes the diagnosis of ADD. Instead, it includes all disorders of attention as ADHD and then qualifies them as one of the following:

  • Primarily Inattentive
  • Primarily Hyperactive
  • Combined Type (both inattentive and hyperactive)

Individual who are primarily hyperactive are typically easy to spot.  Characteristics of this subtype include some of the following:

In children:

  • Often fidgets with things or taps hands/feet or squirms in chair
  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate
  • Is noisy in play or leisure activities
  • Is often “on the go” and seems as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talks excessively, on or off topic
  • Blurts our answers before questions have been completed
  • Cannot wait their turn
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Will act out of impulse and when asked “why”, they will often respond with “I don’t Know”.

In adolescents and adults:

  • Often fidgets with things or taps hands/feet
  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
  • Reckless driving, frequent tickets or accidents
  • Often interrupts or cannot wait turns in conversations
  • Frequently changes jobs, difficulty keeping a job, easily bored with a job
  • Can struggle with impulsive shopping, gambling, or other activities that allow instant gratification
  • Talks excessively, on or off topic
  • Impatient
  • Frequent mood swings or emotional outbursts

 

Individuals who are primarily inattentive are sometimes harder to notice.  Characteristics of this subtype include:

In children:

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • Does not seem to listen to when spoken to directly
  • Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores.
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort such as schoolwork or homework.
  • Loses or misplaces things
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Forgetful in daily activities

In adolescents and adults:

  • Fails to give close attention to detail and makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or at work
  • Has difficulty sustaining attention to task
  • Has difficulty with organization
  • Loses or misplaces things
  • Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Forgetful in daily activities, forgets to turn in assignments or to pay bills
  • Can read something several times but have no idea what they read
  • Struggles to multi-task
  • Often loses track of conversations, forgets what someone is talking about

Inattentive type is often much harder to diagnose, and individuals can go much longer before anyone suspects that there is an issue.  This is because individuals who are inattentive often look and act as if they are listening, when in fact, they can be a million miles away.  Teachers often miss these students because they are not the ones causing trouble.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these symptoms, then an ADHD evaluation can determine if an attention deficit is present.  The evaluation for ADHD has to go deeper than just a few surveys and, instead, it should look at how an individual learns, processes, and retains information. The evaluation must also explore the history of these symptoms and how and where they were first observed.

Call Diagnostic Learning Services today to learn more about how we assess for ADHD.

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