What is ADHD?
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a persistent condition and a complex mental health disorder including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. However, this condition begins in childhood; it can become chronic and continue through adulthood.
Symptoms of ADHD
The common symptoms of ADHD can be classified into three categories.
Attention Deficit Symptoms
Children, or at times adults also, with ADHD tend to get distracted quite easily. They are more prone to mistakes out of carelessness – to the extent of even forgetting their daily activities. They often tend to lose things easily. Children or adults with ADHD do not pay attention to instructions and will lose focus easily. ADHD patients might show interest in many things, but might not finish a task that they have already begun, when they see another interesting thing. Often, a child with ADHD can be seen staring into space and being in a state of daydreaming, wherein they are aloof of what is happening around them.
An ADHD child cannot sit idle. They will always twiddle with something. ADHD patients always show some sort of restlessness. They run or climb excessively in situation or occasion which no other mature people will do. They do everything loudly, be it learning, playing, or even talking. Excessive talking is very common in ADHD patients.
ADHD patients do not have much control over their emotions. They will burst out over petty issues or problems at inappropriate times and on inappropriate topics. As they burst out, their anger also fades away quickly. Children with ADHD tend to exhibit emotional and anger tantrums quite often. They will interrupt others always. One common symptom is their inability to wait for their turn. They usually spill the bean even before the question is complete.
Assessment and Diagnosis of ADHD
It is practically not possible to assess and diagnose the presence of ADHD in a patient just by conducting a single medical, laboratory, or physical test. It is because of the fact that not all ADHD patients show similar symptoms. Hence, this condition looks different in every person. Moreover, some possible symptoms can be signs of some other conditions. Normally, physicians arrive at a diagnosis of ADHD through various methods:
In order to come to a conclusion, the doctor might use the support of a checklist comprising the presence or absence of certain symptoms. Along with that, the physician checks for a combination of the above three specified symptoms. While ensuring the presence or absence of these symptoms in a patient, the physician also checks the severity and gives different ratings on an appropriate scale. In addition, note down the onset, duration, intermittency, intensity, and inciting factors of each of these symptoms.
Once the checklist is found favoring ADHD, as the next step to the assessment and diagnosis, the physician interviews the patient. The physician tries to get as many inputs through structured questionnaires or straight interviews, primarily from the patient, then from immediate and extended family members, and other individuals who might get affected by the patient. Such interviewees might include teachers, caretakers, neighbors, etc. Clubbing with the checklists and the interview, the physician makes a primary assessment.
Medical Examinations and Tests
Further to subjective data, a physician needs to attain some objective data supporting the differential diagnosis of ADHD. Hence, a physician needs to ensure that the symptoms of ADHD shown by the patient do not overlap with the presence of some other illness. Hence, the physician might recommend some visual and audio acuity tests and some neurodevelopmental tests to check the presence of some comorbidity that is possible to be present in patients with ADHD.
Based on the above assessments, the physician draws the final diagnosis of ADHD.