Children with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, have brains that process the neurotransmitters adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine in a different manner than those without it. Usually diagnosed when children enter school, symptoms of the condition can be apparent even earlier. There are three main symptoms of ADHD which then subdivide further.
ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness. Symptoms of hyperactivity include fidgeting and squirming, excessive movement, talking, and volume. Signs of impulsivity include problems with waiting, interrupting others in conversation and actions, and answering questions before they have been fully asked.
Last but not least, the symptoms of inattention are myriad. They include difficulty paying attention during conversation or when completing a task that requires extended concentration, problems with organization, inattention to detail, being distracted easily, losing things that are necessary for certain activities (pencils, for instance), failing to complete schoolwork or other duties, and being forgetful.
Just as there are multiple symptoms of ADHD, there are a corresponding number of types which include one, two, or a combination of all three symptoms. Certain children may have with the inattentive variety of ADHD, which may make them more difficult to diagnose, since they are less noisy and disruptive to a class. Others may have a hybrid sort of ADHD, the hyperactive-impulsive type. Still yet other children may exhibit the full trio of symptoms.
Dr. Daniel Amen, a world leader in treating ADHD with brain imaging science, has discovered six primary types of ADHD.
Because certain drugs and treatments will improve one type of ADHD and actually make another type worse, correctly diagnosing your ADHD is the most important factor for successfully treating it.
Amen’s Six Types of ADHD:
- Classic ADD – Distractible, inattentive, disorganized. Frequently hyperactive, inattentive, fidgety and impulsive.
- Inattentive ADD – Inattentive, distracted and disorganized.
- Over-focused ADD – Difficulty shifting attention, frequent negative thought patterns, obsessive, extreme worry, stubborn, oppositional and argumentative.
- Temporal Lobe ADD – Distracted and irritable, hostile, dark thoughts, mood swings, very impulsive. May break rules, fight, is defiant, regularly disobedient. Poor handwriting and difficulty learning are common symptoms.
- Limbic System ADD – Inattentive with chronic low-grade depression. Frequently negative, complaining of low energy, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness are common.
- Ring of Fire ADD –Type of ADD most commonly found in violent criminals. Cross between ADD and bipolar disorder. Moodiness, anger and aggressiveness are frequent with this condition. May be Inattentive, irritable, overly sensitive,extremely combative,and extremely distractible.
All types of ADHD can be difficult to correctly diagnose, since there are a variety of symptoms from other disorders that may masquerade as ADHD and cause confusion. Unrelated learning disorders, unrelated behavioral issues, depression, and tic disorders are just a few of the symptoms which may be confused with signs of ADHD. To further compound matters, many children with ADHD have other behavioral, developmental, or psychiatric issues as well.
In order to help clear up the issue, the American Academy of Pediatrics has attempted to define guidelines for the accurate diagnosis of ADHD. According to this organization, in order to be labeled ADHD, symptoms must be disruptive in relationships, as well as at home and school. They must not be caused by any other issue, and there must be at least six of these symptoms occurring for six months or more in at least two settings.
Although more rare, ADHD can be diagnosed in adults as well. While the majority of cases of childhood ADHD are seen in boys, the ratio becomes less pronounced in adulthood. Approximately 60% of children with the disorder will continue to experience it when they grow older.
ADHD can contribute to learning disabilities that cause significant issues in the classroom or any other educational environment. Children or adults who have been diagnosed should seek professional medical assistance.