ADHD or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that most commonly is diagnosed in childhood, but is also identified in adulthood.
Common symptoms of ADHD include:
People with ADHD might have difficulty planning, organizing, shifting their attention, coming up with ways of approaching problems, becoming easily overwhelmed with busy environments, and managing time and appointments. For some people, the condition may appear in the form of having difficulty focusing or concentrating and daydreaming without being particularly hyperactive.
For others, it may appear in the form of acting very impulsively, being restless, being hyperactive, and acting very impatiently. Some people experience a combination of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. Additionally, the symptoms occur in more than one place (for example: at work, at school and at home).
There is no single test that can confirm ADHD. A pediatrician, family medical professional or licensed medical professional can evaluate an individual with a physical exam and have a discussion of their background, childhood behaviors, school experience, and everyday challenges.
Although ADHD symptoms begin to appear between ages 3 to 6, it can be difficult to diagnose in children as each child is unique. Children mature differently and have different energy levels, temperaments and personalities. Often times, children have inattentive symptoms which are not as disruptive and may go unnoticed and undiagnosed.
As they grow to adolescence and are faced with more responsibility and higher academic demands, their disorder may become more apparent. Even into adulthood, undiagnosed ADHD may continue to cause challenges in staying organized, staying with a job or remembering scheduled events.
At Fairmount, we treat children and adolescents struggling with ADHD using a variety of different modalities which provide structure in an effort to alleviate the symptoms. In addition to medications and behavioral modification approaches, we use creative arts therapy, particularly music, art and movement therapies, which assist in helping the child to better manage his/her symptoms.
Sometimes children who are struggling in the early stages of underlying trauma may manifest symptoms (i.e. restlessness, impulsivity, inattention) that are misdiagnosed as ADHD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the conditions that appear in similar ways to ADHD.
They can also camouflage each other; making it hard to discern what is ADHD and what is PTSD. At Fairmount, we have clinicians who are skilled in providing trauma-informed care, which focuses on treating the child with respect and compassion and helping the child experience consistency in his or her daily routines; and providing opportunities for relaxation and positive experiences.
Unfortunately, if left untreated, children with ADHD will often show poorer performance in school, and may really struggle to manage their behaviors in adaptive ways.