What is ADHD?

You have probably heard of ADHD and may even know somebody with an ADHD diagnosis, but it can be unclear what that actually means. ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and describes a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties with concentration, impulsivity, and hyperactivity or restlessness. It goes beyond occasional daydreaming or energy bursts; people with ADHD will experience more consistent struggles that show up in multiple aspects of their life.

Each person’s experience with ADHD is unique. In fact, there are three types of ADHD: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined.

Inattentive type, previously called attention-deficit disorder or ADD, has symptoms associated with attention difficulties but not hyperactivity. This might look like:

  • Trouble paying attention at work or school
  • Becoming easily distracted or bored
  • Having a hard time staying organized and making plans
  • Constantly forgetting or losing track of things

Hyperactive/impulsive type is the opposite; the individual has symptoms associated with hyperactivity or impulsivity but not attention. This might look like:

  • Feeling restless and impatient
  • The need to be constantly moving or talking
  • Interrupting or blurting out answers while others are talking
  • Making quick decisions without thinking about possible consequences

Combined type, as you can guess, includes symptoms from both categories.

Regardless of the type, ADHD can get in the way of somebody going about their day and working toward their goals. At least some difficulties appear before age 12, but plenty of people go undiagnosed until adulthood.

The good news is that ADHD can be diagnosed and treated at every age! At CARE Counseling, we work with adults to assess these symptoms, reach a diagnosis that helps explain their experiences, and inform treatment to help alleviate some of these common struggles. Although ADHD is generally not thought of as “curable,” there are many ways to manage symptoms and get on track to live the life you want to live.

Written By: Emmanuelle Hansen, PSY.D, LP

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