While it is natural to feel restless and be unable to focus from time to time, for a person diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they experience serious and persistent difficulty in sustaining attention, controlling impulses and hyperactivity. ADHD is a neuro-developmental disorder which usually begins from an early age, usually before seven years old. According to research, this condition is due to brain functioning or development, such as genetic factors, injuries, toxins and infections.
It is quite normal for children to be active, inattentive and impulsive. However, children with ADHD struggle in three areas, namely: inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Some of the symptoms in each area include:
It is worth noting when these behaviours:
While it is possible for a child to grow out of ADHD, it is difficult to predict when and if this will happen. As such, the main immediate goal is to help manage ADHD and prevent the child from missing out on important life aspects such as developing peer relationships or in their academic learning.
Parents often find themselves feeling stressed from caring for their children who have ADHD. It is vital that they find support from other family members and the school. Parents can work with teachers and school counsellors to assess the child, and discuss how to best support them. Parents can also directly reach out to a psychiatrist or IMH’s multidisciplinary community mental health team REACH (Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Health) to explore treatment and management strategies.
Adults, too, can have ADHD. Their challenges in inattention and impulsivity leading to problems at the workplace in terms of organisational skills, time management and their ability to hold their jobs. They may experience other challenges such as low self-esteem, personality difficulties, and are also more likely to suffer substance abuse problems and depression.
ADHD is a developmental disorder that begins from an early age and can continue into adulthood. Hence, it is unlikely for symptoms to suddenly appear in adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD, in particular hyperactivity, is less seen in adults. It is likely that some of the symptoms of ADHD do gradually improve with age, and with proper treatment and management.
There are many ways to support someone with ADHD, namely through training carers, medication, psychotherapy and coaching to improve their life skills such as organisation skills, time management and interpersonal skills.
To make an appointment to see a doctor, please call 6389 2200.
Click here to find out more on IMH's services for ADHD. To have a better understanding on ADHD, click here to watch a video on the disorder.
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