* fidgeting and difficulty remaining seated
* excessive running or climbing
* difficulty playing quietly
* always seeming to be "on the go"
* talking excessively
* blurting out answers before hearing the full question
* difficulty waiting for a turn or in line
* interrupting when others are talking
* inability to sustain or pay attention to details
* tendency to make careless errors in schoolwork
* apparent listening problems
* difficulty following instructions
* problems with organization
* avoidance or dislike of tasks that require mental effort
* tendency to lose things like toys, notebooks, or homework
* forgetfulness in daily activities
ADHD can of course exist even without the presence of restlessness of hyperactivity. This is the inattentive subtype of the disease. This is as disabling but may be harder to pick out, given that externalising behaviour, such as restlessness and aggressiveness is more likely to be picked up, as it is more disruptive. Girls and adults are more likely to have the inattentive subtype of ADHD but it is just as important for this subtype to be treated adequately, given its similar serious consequences.
It’s of course common for children to exhibit these symptoms at times, especially when they are anxious or excited. When these symptoms predominant a child’s life and affects his functioning in the family, as well as socially and academically, ADHD is a definite possibility to be considered.
Although it can be challenging to raise children with ADHD, it's important to remember they aren't "bad," "acting out," or being difficult on purpose. They may have significant difficulty controlling their behaviour without medication or behavioural therapy.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in emotional and behavioral disorders.The psychiatrist would take a very detailed history from the parents or the patient if an adult. If previous reports from teachers are available, it would be helpful to bring these along to get a more complete picture of the situation. The child would also be observed and examined thoroughly while in the clinic. The point of the initial consultation would be to confirm the diagnosis and also to look for other conditions such as dyslexia and emotional conditions that often co-exist with ADHD. It would be important to address these issues if they are in present to optimise results. Sometimes, psychological testing may also be required to confirm the diagnosis or its extent.
Having confirmed the diagnosis, a good psychiatrist would use a combined approach to treatment to give the patient the best optimised results. A behavioural approach would always be necessary and often parent training with regards to how best to support the child with the disability would be taught as well. A good psychiatrist dealing with children would also liaise with the school to help them understand the child’s situation and help them make necessary provisions to optimise the child’s learning environment.
A supplement such as Vayarin may be useful in some cases. Medications such as Ritalin or Concerta would also be needed in other cases. Your psychiatrist would discuss the pros and cons of medication with you if necessary, but the final decision as to whether to start or continue medications would still remain with you.
ADHD is a common condition but one that carries serious long-term consequences if left unchecked. Besides academic problems, it’s perhaps the serious emotional and social issues of poor impulse control that lead to low self-esteem and loss of confidence that are more troubling. On the other hand, ADHD can be easy to treat once identified and this can set your child or yourself (if you are an adult sufferer) up for a much more successful and happy future.