ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is characterized by distractibility, impulsivity and restlessness or hyperactivity. Considered a neurological condition, it is genetically transmissible. Symptoms are present from childhood on however some symptoms such as inattentiveness, may be more prominent in girls than in boys. The intensity of symptoms falls on a spectrum. Symptoms can worsen due to a variety of influences like hormonal changes or stress. They can also improve with regular fitness and adequate sleep.
ADHD is considered a disability primarily because of the impact the condition can have on executive functioning which we rely heavily upon to succeed in today’s society. For example, neurons in the prefrontal region of the frontal lobe are involved in processes such as planning, integrating information, modulating behavior and emotional responses and prioritization. People with ADHD CAN focus sometimes to a fault, and a fair number are not hyperactive.
Diagnosis is primarily made by a thorough interview and determining whether specific ADHD symptoms have been present throughout one’s history. In establishing a proper diagnosis, it is also important to address whether other conditions may be present such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and learning disabilities. Sometimes a neuropyschological evaluation can be helpful as a tool to aid in the diagnosis of conditions.