What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sometimes referred to as ADD (attention deficit disorder), is a developmental and neurological condition that affects children, adolescents, and adults. It is characterized by problems with attention, impulsivity, and/or hyperactivity. Students with ADHD may have significantly lower grades, are more likely to have academic and behavioral problems, experience more social difficulties, and struggle at home and/or work. ADHD is an executive functioning disorder, which means it impacts every area of your life. Executive functioning problems, which involve higher-level cognitive activities necessary to succeed in academic and occupational settings, include things such as planning, organization, time management, and productivity. Problems with emotional regulation are also common.
While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, 76% of ADHD is thought to run in families. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to a successful school and career paths and emotionally healthy life. Undiagnosed ADHD often leads to anxiety and depression, resulting from repeated failure despite one's best efforts. It is typically noticed during early childhood, with at least some symptoms present prior to age 12.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 10 children in the United States is affected by this disorder. ADHD is considered a lifelong condition; however, the symptoms and challenges may change over the lifetime. For example, a young child with ADHD may present as more hyperactive, but as they mature, they are more likely to struggle primarily with symptoms of inattention, although they may still display some signs of hyperactivity/restlessness.
For more information, check out the Symptoms and Diagnosis guide from CDC here.
Assessment of ADHD
Assessment for ADHD must be approached carefully. The reason is because the symptoms of inattention, distractibility, and restlessness may be linked to many other disorders and underlying causes. A comprehensive psychoeducational assessment is recommended as it evaluates all the cognitive domains including: intellectual, achievement, attention and working memory, language functioning, visual spatial functioning, executive functioning, and emotional behavioral development. Evaluation of this last area is important because cognitive disorders such as ADHD have an impact on a person's self confidence, which can lead to anxiety, depression, addiction, etc. Understanding that there is an underlying cause to internalized or externalized symptoms is often life changing feedback for an individual that may struggle with anxiety, depression, or addiction.
Testing is comprehensive and typically causes cognitive fatigue. Therefore, it often takes place over 2-3 sessions to assure for best performance. For more information about the process, please click here. When evaluating for ADHD, Dr. Korey is simultaneously evaluating and ruling out other issues that cause attention deficit, including:
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Post Concussion Symptoms
Sensory Integration Problems
Diagnosing ADHD requires a thorough assessment and professional opinion is necessary for diagnosis. Dr. Korey specializes in assessment of children and adults with ADHD. If you suspect that you or your child may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you can take this Child Screener test or the Adult screener test. Please note, this is not meant to serve as a diagnostic tool, but may indicate if there is enough concern to warrant a professional opinion.
So you or your child has ADHD.... What's the next step?
Although ADHD is a chronic condition, the symptoms can be effectively managed and improved through a variety of techniques. Now that you have discovered that you or your child has ADHD, the nest step is to create an individualized treatment plan. Treatment options may include psychotherapy, coaching, and medication. Together with your psychologist you can discuss the different methods for counseling and behavior management at home. Some of the common treatment approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness training, parent training, behavioral training/rewards system at home, and diet and exercise.
ADHD in Adults
ADHD isn't just a childhood condition, but also a disorder that adults can experience. While symptoms of hyperactivity/restlessness decrease with age, symptoms of inattention and executive functioning challenges (such as managing time, planning, prioritizing) often remain. Un-diagnosed and/or untreated ADHD can have devastating effects on the individual’s daily life, career, health, and relationships.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) (www.chadd.org): CHADD is the nation's leading non-profit organization serving individuals with ADHD and their families.
A great resource for those with ADHD as well as their families: https://www.additudemag.com/
Attention Deficit Disorder Resources (www.addresources.org): A member driven non–profit organization that has produces a website with a wealth of resources, including articles, lists of books, links to websites, and a searchable database of professionals and support groups across the country.
National Attention Deficit Disorder Association: (www.add.org). This website has a wealth of resources, including a searchable directory of support groups and professionals.
Study Guides & Strategies (www.studygs.net)