Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children and adolescents. ADHD is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity or restlessness, disruptive behaviour, and poor impulse control. Children with ADHD have an inability to focus and are easily distracted. They also tend to be very physically active and have trouble being still.
Inattentiveness is most commonly seen as; changing activity constantly, trouble with organising activities, an inability to complete time-consuming and complex tasks, being easily distracted with a short attention span, forgetfulness, making careless mistakes, seeming to not listen to or follow instructions.
Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
Hyperactivity and impulsiveness are commonly seen as; an inability to stay still, particularly when it is calm or quiet, compulsive fidgeting, an inability to to focus concentration on activities; continual physical movement, being excessively talkative, an inability to wait their turn, compulsive and thoughtless actions, a compulsion to interrupt conversations as well as a decreased sense of fear.
Related conditions in children and teenagers with ADHD
Children with ADHD may also suffer with; anxiety disorder – frequent and impulsive anxiety and nervousness as well as occasional physical signs of rapid heartbeat, sweating and dizziness. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – seen as disruptive behaviour mainly with figures of authority (parents and teachers), conduct disorder which is seen as a tendency towards antisocial behaviour (stealing, fighting, vandalism and harming people or animals), sleep problems and insomnia, autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) seen as issues with social interaction, communication and behaviour, epilepsy which affects the brain causing fits or seizures, Tourette’s syndrome which is a nervous system syndrome causing a combination of involuntary noises and movements (tics), learning difficulties including dyslexia as well as depresssion.
Without treatment, ADHD can affect a child’s social development and school performance. With treatment, most children with ADHD improve. Seeing a mental health professional can provide children with ADHD critical help in handling frustrations and building self-esteem. Parents of children suffering from ADHD can also benefit from therapy to help them develop healthy and supportive ways of coping.