What is ADHD, what are the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults and children and is there a test for it? | The Sun

ADDTENTION deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that affects people's behaviour.

Up to five per cent of school-aged children and four per cent of adults may be battling with symptoms ADHD, according to the NHS.

The disorder, which is often diagnosed in childhood, often sparks symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

The ADHD Foundation reveals that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common childhood conditions.

While symptoms are typically noticed during childhood, they can continue through into adult life.

The charity explains that ADHD can be diagnosed in three different categories.

These are predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type and combined inattention and hyperactive impulsive type.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can be categorised into two types of behavioural problems – inattentiveness and hyperactivity.

While most people show symptoms of both of these manners, this isn’t always the case.

In adults, hyperactivity is less common, and symptoms are more subtle, making them tougher to identify.

The NHS reveals that the symptoms in adults and kids are…

  • Inattentiveness
  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organising tasks
  • Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger
  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper

What causes ADHD?

While the exact cause of the disorder is yet to be fully identified, there have been a number of different medical theories.

The NHS revealed that it tends to run in families and “both parents and siblings of a child with ADHD are four to five times more likely to have ADHD themselves.”

Others research suggests that symptoms can be brought on depending on a person’s brain function and structure.

Those with an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain may be more at risk.

Scientists have also explored the idea that babies born to obese mums are more likely to have the disorder.

And kids who have mums with allergies could also have an increased risk.

Is there a test for ADHD?

If you think your child has ADHD you might wish to consider speaking to your child's teacher and then GP.

Your GP can't formally diagnose your child with ADHD but they can ask questions and refer them for a specialist assessment, if they deem it necessary.

They may also suggest a parent training or educational programme to help your family with every day life.

If you or your child is referred for an assessment, this may be undertaken by a:

  • psychiatrist
  • paediatrician (in a child's case)
  • learning disability specialist, social worker or occupational therapist with expertise in ADHD

There is no simple test to make the diagnoses but a professional will take into consideration a physical examination, a series of interviews and reports from other adults.

For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD they must have been showing symptoms for at least six months, showed symptoms before they were 12, displayed symptoms in numerous settings and had symptoms that made their lives considerably more challenging, among other criteria.

Is there any treatment for ADHD?

Doctors often recommend both medication and therapy for those affected by symptoms of ADHD.

Behaviour therapy, psycho-education, cognitive behavioural therapy and social skills training may help to alleviate symptoms.

Medical professionals also have the option of prescribing one of five medications licensed for the treatment of ADHD – methylphenidate, dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, atomoxetine or guanfacine.

This treatment may make the condition may less of a concern in sufferers’ everyday lives, but don’t offer up a permanent cure

Which celebrities have ADHD and have spoken about the disorder?

Comedian and actor Johnny Vegas has revealed he has recently been diagnosed with ADHD – at the age of 52.

He told BBC Breakfast that his ADHD diagnosis “answers a lot of questions about behavioural issues” he has had.

The comedian added: "It's that sense of disorganisation and doing basic tasks… everybody has an element of it, it's how strong your filter is, I think.

"When you don't have a filter at all… very simple things become very time consuming."

Loose Women star Nadia Sawalha also revealed her "life changing condition" while on TV.

During an episode of the hit ITV show, the presenter, 58, told the panel she has been diagnosed ADHD.

Nadia made a film about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for the daytime show and discovered she had been living with the condition since childhood. 

Team GB Olympian Louis Smith was diagnosed with the disorder when he was just six-years-old.

Although the gymnast was prescribed medication to help alleviate symptoms, he claims that sport was what really changed his life.

He explained: "My mum took me to a variety of sports but from a young age it was gymnastics that captured my attention and which I really wanted to progress in.”



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Canadian megastar Justin Bieber has also opened up about his behavioural problems.

The 22-year-old opened up about his medical state during a Glasgow show last October – following his on-stage strop in Manchester.

He told his fans at the SSE Hydro: “I think I have ADD, ADHD or something like that when my mind doesn’t work properly.”

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