What Is AD/HD
There are many symptoms of AD/HD, but most are rooted in three broad behavioral categories: impulsive behavior, short attention span, and often hyperactivity. About 10% of children in the United States have been diagnosed with AD/HD at some point in their lives. Many are helped, but only about one-third experience a permanent reduction in their symptoms by adulthood. Most continue to have symptoms of the disorder and, if not properly managed, these symptoms may contribute to a variety of life problems.
What Causes AD/HD
The exact cause of AD/HD is unknown, but it is believed to be primarily a neuro-biological disorder with a strong hereditary component. It is not uncommon for a parent to self-diagnose their own AD/HD in the process of getting help for a child with the disorder. Although there is no genetic marker or test for AD/HD, the disorder’s existence has been well established.
Common Symptoms Of AD/HD
Think about your life at home and at work. Review the checklist on the second page of this article. Are some of these symptoms familiar to you?
If so, you may want to learn more about the symptoms of AD/HD, whether or not you suffer from this disorder, and what you can do about it.
How Is AD/HD Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of AD/HD is made by an experienced professional or several different professionals who interview the patient or client to determine the pervasiveness of symptoms in a wide range of life functions. AD/HD symptoms adversely affect home and work life, so reports by family members are often key to helping professionals make the AD/HD diagnosis. All people experience periods of impulsiveness, hyperactivity, or inattentiveness at some point in their lives, but when these behaviors become pervasive, long-term, and affect life functioning, the existence of AD/HD is a possibility. Further evidence that symptoms have persisted since childhood strongly confirms the diagnosis. Some illegal drug users with AD/HD have accidentally discovered temporary relief from symptoms, but drug abuse compounds problems associated with AD/HD. This “self-medicating” can be a clue to the existence of the diagnosis. Alcoholism and drug addictions, however, are primary illnesses and require separate treatment. AD/HD does not cause drug addiction or alcoholism.
How Is AD/HD Treated?
Treatment for AD/HD is designed to prevent disruptive behavioral and cognitive symptoms and consequent life problems. A variety of medications are commonly used and are very effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also very useful, along with education about the symptoms of the disorder and how to manage them.
How The EAP Can Help
An EAP consultant can meet with you to discuss concerns or problems you may be experiencing, give you more information about symptoms and provide referrals to mental health professional who have experience in the diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD. The EAP consultant can also work with you to develop strategies to manage AD/HD symptoms and enhance your personal and work life.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is one of the most researched health conditions in the United States. You may have heard of AD/HD associated with children who can’t sit still, have short attention spans, or suffer from impulsive behavior problems. However, many adults also suffer from AD/HD. Most of them don’t know it.
Common Signs Of AD/HD
This informal checklist* is an informational guide to common signs of AD/HD. It does not replace an evaluation by a trained mental health professional or medical doctor. If you suspect you may have AD/HD, take this checklist with you to a doctor or mental health professional to initiate a discussion.
- I have difficulty getting organized.
- When given a task, I usually procrastinate rather than doing it right away.
- I work on a lot of projects, but can’t seem to complete most of them.
- I tend to make decisions and act on them impulsively – like spending money, getting sexually involved with someone, diving into new activities, and changing plans.
- I get bored easily.
- No matter how much I do or how hard I try, I just can’t seem to reach my goals.
- I often get distracted when people are talking; I just tune out or drift off.
- I get so wrapped up in some things I do that I can hardly stop to take a break or switch to doing something else.
- I tend to overdo things even when they’re not good for me – like compulsive shopping, drinking too much, overworking, and overeating.
- I get frustrated easily and I get impatient when things are going too slowly.
- My self-esteem is not as high as that of others I know.
- I need a lot of stimulation from things like action movies and video games, new purchases, being among lively friends, driving fast or engaging in extreme sports.
- I tend to say or do things without thinking, and sometimes that gets me into trouble.
- I’d rather do things my own way than follow the rules and procedures of others.
- I often find myself tapping a pencil, swinging my leg, or doing something else to work off nervous energy.
- I can feel suddenly depressed when I’m separated from people, projects or things that I like to be involved with.
- I see myself differently than others see me, and when someone gets angry with me for doing something that upset them I’m often very surprised.
- Even though I worry a lot about dangerous things that are unlikely to happen to me, I tend to be careless and accident prone.
- Even though I have a lot of fears, people would describe me as a risk taker.
- I make a lot of careless mistakes.
- I have blood relatives who suffer from ADHD, bipolar disorder, or substance abuse.