Boy with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and his mother

This is a developmental disorder, marked with difficulties of attention, concentration and impulse control. Onset is at childhood with 6-7% of children affected by ADHD in Australia. However, symptoms tend to improve with age.

ADHD has 3 Types

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive
  • Combined

Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms according to DSM 5

Symptoms of Inattention

17 and younger: Six or more of these symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, be inconsistent with the child’s developmental level, and have a negative effect on their social and academic activities.  To be endorsed, the following must occur “often”:

  1. Fails to pay close attention to details
  2. Has trouble sustaining attention
  3. Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to directly
  4. Fails to follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork or chores
  5. Has trouble getting organized
  6. Avoids or dislikes doing things that require sustained focus/thinking
  7. Loses things frequently
  8. Easily distracted by another. 
  9. Forgets things

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity

 Six or more of these symptoms must be present for at least 6 months, be inconsistent with the child’s developmental level, and have a negative effect on their social and academic activities.  To be endorsed, the following must occur “often”:

  1. Fidgets with hands/feet or squirms in chair
  2. Frequently leaves chair when seating is expected
  3. Runs or climbs excessively
  4. Trouble playing/engaging in activities quietly
  5. Acts “on the go” and as if “driven by a motor”
  6. Talks excessively
  7. Blurts out answers before questions are completed
  8. Trouble waiting or taking turns
  9. Interrupts or intrudes on what others are doing

Treatment of ADHD

Treatment of ADHD approved by the APS

  • Medication in consultation with your GP
  • Behavioural Parent Training
  • Social Skills
  • School Based Interventions
  • Addressing other Learning Difficulties

Duration and Intensity

As the onset is at childhood, symptoms tend to improve as the child gets older.  However, some symptoms may still be there as the child moves into adulthood. Intensity would depend upon the number of symptoms are present in each domain of inattention, hyperactive-impulsive or combined.

Comorbidity

Some disorders that can co-occur with   ADHD are:

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Learning Disorder
  • Early Speech/Communication problems
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