Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects millions of children and adults. It is a neurological brain disorder that causes problems in a person’s concentration, impulse control, and focus. Children with ADHD are often misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or other similar disorders because the symptoms resemble symptoms of other mental illnesses. In order to accurately diagnose ADHD, the symptoms have to be observed for over one year by a qualified health care practitioner.
Inattentive ADHD is the most common subtype of ADHD and refers to the child who has difficulty focusing on tasks despite having enough time and the inability to redirect their attention. Children with this condition are easily distracted and may start to lose focus on any given activity. Because of this, they tend to act impulsively which makes it difficult to keep up, and they often appear to be hyperactive. Hyperactive children have a higher probability of making impulsive errors while focusing on tasks and such behavior can result to accidents at school and on the playground. Children with the hyperactive ADHD usually exhibit signs of inattention but not always and it may go unnoticed due to their inattention.
Combined-type ADHD refers to a combination of hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive ADHD. This medical condition is the result of comorbid conditions such as dyslexia, bi-polar disorder, OCD, and OCD-related behaviors. Symptoms include constant fidgeting, difficulty sitting still, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty staying on task. Children with this medical condition are often not diagnosed because the primary symptom of inattention can also appear along with the other symptoms of ADHD. Children with the combined type ADHD must therefore have both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in addition to the other symptoms, in order to meet the criteria for this medical condition.
Executive functioning is another part of the big picture of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Executive dysfunction refers to the areas of the brain which control various functions such as attention, memory, mood, and more. A person who has an executive dysfunction syndrome has problems with memory recall, attention span, impulse control, and organization. Researchers believe that people with this disorder also have a dysfunction in the frontal lobes, which is where most of the executive functions of the human brain are executed.
The diagnosis of ADHD can be done through a number of methods. The most popular of which is the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Inventory (OCD-OAI). The OAI is comprised of thirty-two items that are needed to determine if a person indeed has the disorder. This test is considered highly reliable and accurate and has a high level of validity. In order for this type of test to be helpful, at least fourteen people must be involved in the clinical evaluation, which makes it one of the most efficient methods of diagnosing ADHD.
Another method of diagnosing ADHD is with brain imaging. MRI and MGH (Magneto Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans have been successful in diagnosing some cases. There are several ways how ADHD brain imaging can be achieved. One method is through using a CT scanner or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Another way is by using a PET (positron emission tomography) scanner to give images of the brain.
If you suspect that your child may have ADHD symptoms, you should take him to see his doctor. You will be able to determine which type of ADHD he has through the results of several laboratory tests. In order to do that, your child will need to fill out a form about his medical history. He will be asked about his medications, if he is taking any psychostimulants or diet pills, and any other questions that the doctor may ask. Your doctor will be able to find out if there are any other physical problems along with his hyperactivity, inattention, or impulsivity. Once you and your doctor have determined which type of ADHD your child has, then the next step is to start treatment.
The most common type of ADHD is called Inattentive Hyperactive Disorder. It is usually diagnosed when the child cannot sit still for any length of time, he is easily distracted, and he is constantly squirming. He also demonstrates an inability to concentrate on one task after the other. Usually children with this condition will be able to concentrate for a few minutes at a time and then need to sit still for quite a while before they can stand still. Children who have Inattentive ADHD may be easily distracted during a classroom activity, but they usually pay attention when they are supposed to. Some may also be lazy to stand still during a test.