THINK YOU ARE HYPER? YOU HAVE SOME FAMOUS COMPANY.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) comes in three main types–inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness only, or all three combined. Here is the current Diagnostic Statistical Manuel (DSM) criteria used by psychiatrists to aid them in reaching a diagnosis.
Inattention: Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
- Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. Toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
- Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Is often forgetful in daily activities
Hyperactivity Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
- Often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat
- Often leaves seat in classroom or other situations in which remaining seated is expected
- Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
- Often talks excessively.
Impulsivity add the following:
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Often has difficulty awaiting turn
- Often interrupts or intrudes on others
There most be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning and must be seen in two or more settings (e. g. school (or work) or at home. For example: Children may have a learning disability that makes school a boring burden and the kind of restlessness that teachers might mistake for HDHD or home may be chaotic and abusive and school a retreat so that the child misbehaves at home and behaves at school.
Novelty, very structured environments, high motivation temporarily diminish the impact of ADD/ADHD. Which is why some physicians fail to diagnose or offer too easy reassurance to parents who worry or complain about a youth’s inattention, non-compliant behavior, or hyperactivity. This is also why parents and teachers tend to think if the youth would just try harder, s/he would do better. ADD/ADHD is either over diagnosed or under-diagnosed.
WARNING: DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSIS We all like to use such checklists or similar tests to self diagnose or diagnose loved ones or enemies. Do not. Such tests are only one tool and on their own are more misleading than not. If you think you have a disorder that is interfering with your ability to function, you must consult a competent mental health professional. My Sharing Knowledge posts are efforts to educate. My goal is to help you become an educated consumer. Competent care depends on a competent provider, but also on an educated consumer. Part of being an educated consumer is letting the professionals do what they have been trained to do. Worried more than briefly about any aspect of your health, see you doctor. Not satisfied that you are getting the right help, seek another professional opinion. Good luck, share, care and stay strong.
One of the saddest part of my journey as a mental health professional was seeing the wasted years suffered by many because stigma kept them from seeking competent mental health care. Equally sad were the myth and refusals that circulated about causes and cures. They are many. I was taught that smothering mothers cause asthma; it is now recognized that was poor science– asthma in children causes extreme protectiveness essential to preserve life, not smothering. It helps to keep in mind that medicine and particularly mental health medicine is both an art and a science. The science aspect is advancing rapidly. Do not let stigma and myth keep you from seeking help for any emotional problem that sriously interferes with your happiness or your functioning. Life is a struggle, but help is available.