Understanding ADHD

ADHD is often diagnosed late and undertreated. Symptoms of forgetfulness, losing things, difficulty prioritizing, and anxiety make diagnosis important. www.thedistractedmom.comDo you have a child or teen with ADHD?


Eleven percent of American children (ages 4-17) have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the CDC, and 60% of them will continue to have symptoms into adulthood. ADHD is more common in boys than girls though studies indicate that gender bias may play a role in this(Bruchmuller, 2012).

There are three types of ADHD into which children and adults may fall.

  • ADHD-PI (Predominantly Inattentive)

    • difficulty sustaining attention, makes careless mistakes, difficulty organizing tasks, dislikes or avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort, loses things, forgetful, easily distracted by stimuli
  • ADHD-H (Predominantly Hyperactive)

    • fidgety, difficulty staying seated, move and/or talk excessively, difficulty taking turns, impatience, intrude on others, activity or speaking at inappropriate times
  • ADHD-C (Combined)

    • combined symptoms of inattention and  restlessness; the most common subtype of ADHD

Early diagnosis and treatment can aid a child in receiving accommodations in school and assisting families in learning how to help at home. These changes can make a huge difference in how a child functions in their environment and how they feel about themselves. Since ADHD kids are at an increased risk for anxiety and depression, it’s especially important to learn what you can do to help them succeed.

If you are the parent of a child with ADHD, there is a 30-40% chance that you or their other parent also has it.


About 4% of the US adult population has Adult ADHD, but fewer than 20% of those individuals are diagnosed and treated (ADAA, 2015). Sadly, many of us aren’t diagnosed until our child receives an assessment, when suddenly our own symptoms come into focus. By then, we may have a long-established history of personal and professional failures or problems with money or relationships.

ADHD causes problems at school, work, home, and with tasks of daily life.

Symptoms may include excessive forgetfulness, losing things, difficulty remembering instructions and prioritizing, poor time management skills, distractibility, impatience, and trouble regulating emotions. Is it any wonder that half of adults with ADHD also suffer from an anxiety disorder or depression?

In fact, adults are more likely to seek treatment for co-morbid disorders than for ADHD (Fasmer OB, Halmøy A, Oedegaard KJ, Haavik J., 2011). Symptoms of ADHD such as mood instability, inner tension, and restlessness are often mistaken for mood disorders. While anxiety and depression do occur for many, treatment is often not effective unless the symptoms of ADHD identified and managed.  Effective treatment of adults’ ADHD improves functioning, self-esteem, and reduces other risk factors (eg, safer driving, and reduced criminality).

We can lead successful and happy lives with proper treatment, but recognizing the problem is the first step.


Works Cited

Bruchmüller, Katrin, Jürgen Margraf, and Silvia Schneider. “Is ADHD Diagnosed in Accord with Diagnostic Criteria? Overdiagnosis and Influence of Client Gender on Diagnosis.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 80.1 (2012): 128-38. Print.

Fasmer OB, Halmøy A, Oedegaard KJ, Haavik J. Adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is associated with migraine headaches. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience. 2011;261(8):595-602. doi:10.1007/s00406-011-0203-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225610/

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