October is ADHD or, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Awareness Month. ADHD is a common disorder that impacts about 9% of children ages 2-17, according to the CDC. Even though it is a relatively common disorder that many people are diagnosed with across the country and world, it is often misunderstood and stigmatized. This month serves as a time to educate people about the disorder, connect parents and teachers with resources regarding children with ADHD, and validating people with ADHD that it is real and taken seriously. This article will go through a number of facts and statistics about ADHD, discuss the fact that it impacts boys and girls drastically different, and connect you with valuable resources to continue your knowledge and research on the topic.
What happened to ADD?
You may remember hearing that ADD was a different diagnosis than ADHD. Symptoms like having trouble paying attention and task management issues were attributed to ADD while symptoms like impulsive tendencies and running "as if you were on a motor" were considered ADHD. Today there is no such distinction. All children with these symptoms are diagnosed with ADHD, however, now there are 3 subtypes.
Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
Children with hyperactive ADHD are ones that seem like they "run on a motor". They tend to not be able to sit still and talk and interrupt people excessively. They can have issues with self-control and can get in trouble in the classroom for blurting out answers without being called on. This is most common in boys and men.
Inattentive ADHD (formerly called ADD)
People diagnosed with Inattentive ADHD can make simple mistakes and have a really hard time paying attention. They get distracted by the things around them and often forget the task at hand and can lose things easily. This type is most common in women and adults.
Combined Type ADHD People diagnosed with Combined Type ADHD have six or more symptoms of BOTH subtypes listed above.
**information on subtypes from ADDitudemag.com**
When doctors are looking for symptoms in a child or adult to see if they have ADHD there is a list of 18 they look for. Nine of those are associated with Hyperactive ADHD and the other nine are associated with Inattentive ADHD. Your child's doctor will diagnosis your child with ADHD if they have at least 6 of the 9 from one list (for combined they need to have 6 on each list), for at least six months in more than one setting (meaning it impacts not only school but also their home life or vice versa). Furthermore, those symptoms must interfere with the child's functioning.
It can take several hours for a doctor to diagnosis you or your child with ADHD. Tests, discussion and analysis by specialists need to be involved in order to get a good diagnosis. These diagnoses have grown over the last decade and about 6 million children around the country have been diagnosed.
If you originally clicked on this article to gain insight on your child or just learn about ADHD to grow your knowledge on mental health, but it is starting to sound familiar to you, you are not alone. Adults can also be diagnosed with ADHD, many of whom have had it their whole lives. With research and knowledge on the topic growing every day it is becoming increasingly common for people to be diagnosed with ADHD for the first time as an adult, some even as senior citizens.
According to ADDitude.com adult symptoms include:
Lack of focus or hyper-focus
Poor attention to detail
Difficulty planning or prioritizing
Poor time management
Problems completing tasks
Extreme emotionality and rejection sensitivity
Low frustration tolerance
Social failures and relationship problems
These symptoms can range in extremity and how much they impact your daily life. To continue our part in raising awareness for ADHD this October our article next week will focus on a Pennsylvania father of four who was diagnosed with ADHD in his thirties. He strongly urged any parent who thinks they might have ADHD to talk to your doctor because his life has been changed for the better since his diagnosis. He has become a better salesman, husband, and father because he has made his mental health a priority.
*Information on symptoms/diagnosis, and adult ADHD from ADDitude.com
For a list of those 18 symptoms and more information on symptoms click here
Different for Boys and Girls:
According to the CDC boys are approximately 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls. This is not due to the fact that boys are more likely to have ADHD but because the symptoms can be a lot more obvious in boys than in girls. Boys tend to show symptoms in an external way while girls experience symptoms internally. The graphic below from Corporate Synergies shows a break down of the symptoms and how different the statistics are for each gender.
If ADHD goes undiagnosed in girls many times they can internalize their anger and emotions causing an increase in anxiety, depression, and eating disorders and a decrease in self-esteem. If you are a parent of a daughter who experiences the symptoms above ask your doctor about ADHD, something you may never have thought to consider.
As the leaves begin to fall and stores become flooded with Halloween costumes remember that October is not just about pumpkins and candy. It is a month to raise awareness for a disorder that impacts nearly 6 million children around the nation, and many more that have yet to be diagnosed. If this article resonated with you and made you think of your child, yourself, or even your spouse consider talking to your doctor about the potential of ADHD. For a more in-depth look at how to make sure your doctor is well equipped with knowledge and ever-evolving research associated with ADHD click here