Attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) generally appears in childhood and nearly always lasts throughout adult life. ADHD can be extremely difficult to diagnose, especially in earlier childhood when children are normally hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. However, with continued observation and the help of pediatric developmental professionals, a diagnosis of ADHD may be determined. In some cases, ADHD is not detected or conclusively diagnosed until adulthood. There are three types of ADHD into which professionals will categorize the afflicted people, each with its own distinct symptoms and treatment options.
Predominantly inattentive. The predominantly inattentive ADHD sufferer may not show an abnormal level of activity, but instead will exhibit a persistent inability to pay attention. Thought processes may seem erratic, constantly moving from one subject to another — with or without any logical transition that listeners can determine. Sufferers will have difficulty focusing on a single task for extended periods of time or may hyper-focus on one activity or thought, to the exclusion of everything else. This may manifest itself as daydreaming, persistent forgetfulness about even the most routine daily activities, and difficulty completing tasks at school or work.
Predominantly hyperactive or impulsive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times.” The hyperactive person has difficulty sitting still for even a few minutes at a time without fidgeting or talking. There is often a higher incidence of injury due to sudden impulsive action without thinking through the consequences, or making sure it’s safe before beginning to move. These dangers can range from running into doors and tripping over things to moving before checking your surroundings, or can be as life-threatening as forgetting to check traffic before stepping into a busy street.
Combined ADHD. With the combined type of ADHD, symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive sufferer will present themselves. These are the people who will most often be diagnosed earlier in life and who most closely fit the popular perception of ADHD. The combined sufferer may have difficulty carrying on conversations without constant interruption, must be in constant motion and may have difficulty with impulse control throughout adulthood in areas such as addiction and money management. At the same time, inattention and persistent hyperactivity can be exasperating to others, as well as negatively impact work and personal relationships. Despite the type of ADHD you may have, there are treatment options that can be very effective in overcoming the obstacles that it represents, regardless of age.