Signs and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder
The medical community stands by the criteria set by the American Psychiatric Association in 1994. Based on the readings, the primary symptoms associated with ADHD are impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Here is a summary of each symptom.
ADD & ADHD afflicted individuals can have problems with focusing, selecting, maintaining, resisting, or shifting (or a combination of) attention. Many might have problems initiating tasks while others lose focus with directions during activity. If you observe closely, you can see where the attention process starts to disintegrate in the affected individual.
Short attention spans or being easily distracted are common traits of ADD and ADHD children. In reality, both inattentiveness & distractibility don’t go hand in hand.
Distractibility is a term given to short attention spans and the relative ease in which children could be swayed into switching tasks and altering their attention.
Attention is a multi-functional process that involves choosing something to focus on, selecting something that needs attention at a particular moment, and maintaining that attention for as long as required. Resisting and shifting our attention is also a part of the process.
Easily distracted children have a tendency to get their attention off balance and can be quickly swayed into focusing on something else.
ADD and ADHD children have trouble with one or more of these process. Routine and boring tasks are especially hard, along with starting a task in the first place. Someone familiar with the condition can easily tell when the attention process starts to disintegrate in these children.
According to the DSM/IV, here is a list of inattentive symptoms:
- Poor attention to details and frequent mistakes in school assignments and work activities
- Lack of concentration in tasks or play activities
- Looking lost or appearing to ignore people who speak to them directly
- Poor follow through on instructions and hardships with completing school assignments, house chores, or occupation duties
- Poor organization of activities and tasks
- Avoiding tasks that require lots of mental effort, like house chores or schoolwork
- Frequent misplacing of things, especially those that belong to particular tasks like pencils and books
- Distracted when multiple stimuli are present
Excessive activity is one of the most common ADHD conditions. Little young children may be given the label of being “battery run” or “little engines” when they possess a demeanor that borders on overdrive. Activity levels could get less with age. Once adulthood hits, these symptoms may turn into restlessness and quirky behavior.
Here are some symptoms associated with hyperactivity, according to the DSM/IV:
- Excessive fidgeting when seated
- Trouble sitting still in the classroom or in situations where sitting is expected
- Excessive running, scaling, and climbing of objects, especially during times when it is inappropriate (adults will show restlessness in this case)
- Having a hard time playing or doing leisurely things quietly and peacefully
- Talking too much with no sense of when to stop
Acting without thinking is what people think about the most when they think of impulsivity. Children with ADHD show impulsive tendencies in a different way. For starters, ADHD afflicted children have trouble waiting for rewards, and its anticipation is met with sudden speaking out of turn, interrupting other people, and performing non calculated risks. An impulsive child with ADHD will burst out into the street without warning or scale large objects without attention to his or her safety. These activities aren’t coming from a risk taking child, rather, a child who has problems delaying gratification and rewards. Many times, children will realize they’ve entered dire straits with no sense of recovery.
Some symptoms associated with impulsive behavior include:
- Talking out of turn
- Blurting answers out before questions are fully asked
- Having a hard time waiting their turn during a game, etc.
- Interrupting during social situations, demanding too much attention
ADHD and Sleep
ADHD can negatively impact a person in a number of ways. We all know about the inability to focus and the frequent bouts of hyperactivity, but did you know that ADHD can also affect how you sleep? And, on top of that, your sleep patterns may also affect your ADHD.
Many people have difficulty falling asleep, but for people who struggle with ADHD falling asleep can be even harder. On average people with ADHD get about 30 minutes less sleep, and those with ADHD also generally find it harder to wake up in the morning. ADHD can hinder sleep, but most disturbing is the fact that a lack of sleep (Insomnia) can make ADHD symptoms worse. This can appear to be a never ending cycle, but many doctors believe that by first addressing any sleep problems, it may help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD.
If you find yourself struggling with sleep follow some of these tips:
- Allow Yourself Ample Time to Relax and Unwind Before Bed – The constant racing of thoughts can make it hard to shut the mind off before bed. For this reason it is important to not partake in any activities that are mentally taxing or that might stimulate the brain.
- Don’t Eat Before Bed – It can be hard to not consume food before bed, but eating before bed is a big no no. It can energize the body and make it that much harder to get to sleep.
- No Caffeine Before Bed – For Obvious Reasons
- No Alcohol – Many people have a couple of drinks before bed, and they site that it helps to put them to sleep. Many researchers have found that those who drink before bed actually have worse sleeping habits than those who don’t.
ADHD and sleeping habits are very much intertwined. ADHD can make sleep difficult, and a lack of sleep can increase the symptoms of ADHD. Because of this, it is important to get plenty of sleep. If you find yourself struggling with sleep try some of these tips, and they will hopefully lead you to a restful night’s sleep. Read HERE for our article about the Mayo Clinic risk factors.
ADD/ADHD or Dyslexia?
ADD and ADHD diagnoses have been on the rise over the past few decades, and some estimates believe that as many as 20 million children are prescribed drugs to address these disorders. With these growing numbers it is now more important to educate yourself on this issue and to familiarize yourself with some conditions that could possibly be mistaken for ADD or ADHD. Dyslexia is commonly misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD, but as you’ll see below these conditions are very different.
Dyslexia is many times initially thought to be ADD or ADHD. Both these can have similar effects on a child in the classroom, but it is still imperative to properly diagnose and treat these conditions. Dyslexia does not cause hyperactivity, and it really only affects how the body consumes written and spoken information. Those with dyslexia tend to:
- Have a Slower Learning Pace
- Have Trouble Learning New Words
- Trouble Spelling
- Difficult with Sequencing – this has lead to the misconception that dyslexics see words backwards.
- Have a Hard Time Following Those That Talk Fast
Those with ADHD and ADD have trouble paying attention, while those with dyslexia actually have difficulty learning. Those with dyslexia can also become overwhelmed easily. At school, work or places where the individual cannot control the pace or the work load, they can quickly become overwhelmed. This tends to lead to confusion and frustration, and this often times appears to the outside world as ADD or ADHD. Dyslexia can also be difficult to diagnose, because those with dyslexia generally do not have a below average intelligence. This leads teachers or doctors to believe that the individuals issue is an inability to focus when it absolutely is not.
Clearly, it is important to determine why one is have difficulty at school or work. Is it because they are having trouble focusing or trouble actually learning? It can be difficult to separate the two, especially when dealing with a child, but it is important for the public to take control and limit the misdiagnosis of ADD and ADHD.
Natural ADD/ADHD Solution
If you have a child with ADHD, Attend might be the perfect solution. It’s an all natural supplement that should be explored before trying the more dangerous medications. Attend is a all natural homeopathic remedy, without all of those risky side effects of drugs that can cause a possible addiction and other problems.