Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder affecting parts of the brain that control alertness, attention, and behavior regulation. It is commonly referred to as “ADD,” but there is no difference between the two. ADHD is typically diagnosed in children and adolescents, and can look different depending on whether the child is primarily Inattentive, or Hyperactive/Impulsive. There is also a third subtype of ADHD, the Combined Type, which includes both Inattention and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity. The features of both the Inattentive and Hyperactive/Impulsive subtypes are listed below:
- Careless mistakes
- Doesn’t seem to listen
- Fails to finish tasks
- Poorly organized
- Easily loses things
- Easily distracted
- Seems as if always in a daydream
- Inability to stay seated
- Difficulty playing quietly
- Always “on the go”
- Talking excessively
- Blurting answers before question is complete
- Constantly interrupts
Just because it looks like ADHD does not mean that it is ADHD. There are many other problems, such as Depression, Anxiety, or Learning Disorders, that can mimic ADHD or exist alongside ADHD. Therefore, a diagnosis of ADHD requires an in-depth evaluation of a child’s social, emotional, and academic functioning.
It is important to note that ADHD is not just a disorder of childhood, and is a lifelong condition. Symptoms of hyperactivity generally fade in young adulthood, but difficulties with impulsivity and inattention tend to be consistent throughout the lifespan. It cannot be “cured,” but effective treatment will teach the child how to develop the skills that he or she is lacking, and therefore better manage life with ADHD.
The Tarnow Center offers a variety of approaches to the treatment of ADHD. Individual therapy focuses on developing specific skills, while also addressing the struggles with mood and low self-esteem that often accompany a diagnosis of ADHD. Family therapy teaches parents how to incorporate the structure and support at home that will help the ADHD child thrive. And group therapy provides safe and appropriate social training, where the child can get feedback from peers and adults about how to regulate their behavior.