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According to the Fifth Edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is used by practitioners to diagnose psychiatric conditions, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a variety of symptoms related to general difficulty with impulsivity and concentration. This diagnosis is often poorly understood, and navigating the therapeutic process can be anxiety-inducing for patients or guardians of children with ADHD.

Knowledge is the most important tool and can enable people to identify the signs of ADHD and have an effective discussion with a neurologist. Here is a helpful framework for understanding the condition and how it is diagnosed.


General Characteristics 

ADHD presents with symptoms that can be classified as impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity.

  • Inattention
  • Difficulty focusing on one thing
  • Easily distracted and bored
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fidgeting
  • Talking nonstop
  • Continuous movement
  • Impulsivity
  • Very impatient
  • Shows emotions without consideration for others
  • Often interrupts conversations

Some or all of these behaviors may characterize the patient’s general demeanor. However, some of these actions may be a facet of their person’s personality and not ADHD related.


Treatment Options

Meeting with therapists and physicians will help determine patients’ best options. For children they may need only minor adjustments to their diet or living environment to see immediate behavior benefits. Medical professionals will often provide useful advice on how to apply these methods to help your child.

For adults and children there are many excellent treatment options that involve medication. When impulsive behavior is very severe, and it impedes with a person’s ability to communicate or learn new skills, certain medications can enable them to maintain focus and avoid the feelings of lethargy common in those with ADHD.


How to Determine the Right Treatment 

Researchers have studied ADHD and its most common treatments since the 1970s. This has enabled them to assess the long-term viability of various methods.

The National Institute of Health recommends treatment with medication and therapy for most patients diagnosed with ADHD. While there is some difficulty assessing the outcomes of medication alone, those patients who used both were shown to have higher quality of life.

Remember, consult with a neurologist or physician and ask questions regarding the details of recommended treatments. At KCA Neurology we help ADHD patients from ages 16 and up. To learn more, contact us today at (615) 550-1800.