What’s the Story with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Part II

attention deficit hyperactivity disorder causes

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How do you know if you have ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? What makes this condition recognizable for an adult?

This is the second in a series of articles on recognizing ADHD in yourself as an adult, its main causes, proper diagnosis, and suggestions regarding how to address it.

As mentioned in our previous article, individuals with the disorder show a consistent pattern of three different categories of symptoms:

  • Inattention (difficulty paying attention)
  • Hyperactivity (being overactive)
  • Impulsiveness (acting without weighing consequences)

In addition to the categories of symptoms, there are also three types of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder that some combination of the above symptom categories would designate an individual as: ADHD/Inattentive Type, ADHD/Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and Combined ADHD Type. This article will discuss some causes of the disorder, diagnoses, and treatment. For more information regarding the three types of ADHD, and primary symptoms of each one, please refer to the previous article in this series.

Causes of ADHD           
The exact cause of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not yet known. Many issues in childhood can lead to difficulty sustaining attention, though that wouldn’t necessarily be considered to be the same as ADHD. For one, sugar consumption has long been suspected of being a cause of inattention and/or hyperactivity, though there’s no research-based evidence that would support this possibility.

Factors that may affect the development of ADHD can be:

  • The mix of genetics that makes the development of ADHD likely can certainly run in a family.
  • Problems in the central nervous system at certain significant moments during development are considered to be likely as a contributive factor.
  • Some environmental factors (e.g., exposure to lead often found in paint and pipes in older buildings) can likely increase the risks.

This list of possible causes of ADHD is not exhaustive, and study of the condition continues. Maternal drug use, alcohol use, and/or smoking during pregnancy as well as premature birth are considered to be additional possible risk factors.

Additional concerns
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can make life fraught with problems for children, then later as adolescents, and even later as adults. Individuals with ADHD often:

  • Are frequently known to be more accident- and injury-prone than others who do not have ADHD
  • Struggle with poor self-esteem and lack of feeling socially accepted
  • Struggle to pay attention, which may lead to subpar performance in work and other life endeavors, resulting in subsequent prejudice by other adults
  • Have shown an increased risk for a predisposition to abuse alcohol and/or drugs as well as other antisocial behavior

Other conditions
ADHD doesn’t spark other problems psychological, developmental, or otherwise. But individuals with ADHD are more likely than others to also grapple with conditions such as:

  • Anxiety disorders –which can cause overwhelming worry, insecurity, and/or nervousness
  • Depression – very common for individuals with ADHD
  • Learning disabilities –that include problems with comprehension and communicating confidently
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorderindicated by heightened irritability and problems coping with frustration
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) – which is typically recognized as a pattern of negative, defiant, and hostile behavioral patterns toward authority figures
  • Conduct disorder – characterized by antisocial behavior
  • Bipolar disorder – a combination of depression coupled with manic behavior
  • Tourette’s syndromeknown as a neurological disorder reflected by repetitive muscle or vocal tics.

ADHD Diagnosis
No single test exists that can be reliably used to diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivite disorder. As mentioned in our previous article, ADHD is typically diagnosed initially when a child consistently exhibits a majority or all of the recognized symptoms consistently for more than six months.

For a reliable diagnosis, you should receive a full physical, including screenings for vision and hearing. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System, a non-invasive cerebral scan meant to monitor theta and beta brain waves. The theta/beta ratio will typically be higher for individuals with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder than for those without.

A comprehensive medical history should also be taken into account to screen for additional conditions that could be affecting you. ADHD-like symptoms and behaviors that can help determine whether you have ADHD or something else include:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Problems sleeping
  • Unrecognized seizures
  • Recent significant life changes (such as the death of someone close to the you, death of a long-time pet, divorce, moving)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

As previously mentioned in our last article, even though ADHD symptoms more often than not begin during childhood, hyperactivity will often diminish as a child grows into adolescence. Common symptoms (problems with paying attention, poor impulse control, and disorganization) may persist through an individual’s teens, on through college, and into adulthood. In the next article in the Attention-Deficit Hyperactivy Disorder series, we will discuss Adult ADHD in more depth.

Do you feel you might have ADHD as an adult? It is treatable and manageable. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.


What’s the Story with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?


What's the Story with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com


How do you know if you have ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? What makes this condition recognizable?

This is the first of a series of articles on recognizing ADHD as an adult, the disorder’s backstory, and how to address it.

Attention-Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that makes it difficult for an individual to pay attention, follow the thread of a conversation, and reign in impulsive behaviors. He or she may also be restless, reckless, and virtually always active. Note that even though symptoms of ADHD typically begin during childhood, hyperactivity will often minimize as a child grows into adolescence. However, common symptoms (problems with paying attention, poor impulse control, and disorganization) are also frequently seen to persist through an individual’s teens, on through college, and into adulthood.

Individuals with ADHD show a consistent pattern of three different categories of symptoms:

  • Inattention (difficulty paying attention)
  • Hyperactivity (being overactive)
  • Impulsiveness (acting without thinking)

Three Primary Types of ADHD

ADHD/Inattentive Type (previously known simply as ADD)Individuals with this type the disorder typically get first labeled as children as dreamers, spacy, ditzy, unmotivated, lazy, unambitious, etc. One common trait is repeated forgetfulness (leaving things behind and/or losing them), and frequent “zoning out” in meetings or during conversations. He or she might miss an exit going home and not realize it for quite a while. An ADHD-prone individual may also run out of gas after forgetting to fill up during the work week. Friendships may suffer because the individual forgets get-togethers, or may wander past others without noticing them. Why? Because his or her mind is preoccupied with other things. This type of the disorder is the second most common type.

Maybe you’ve wondered if you have ADHD or perhaps something else. There is no blood or imaging test to diagnose the disorder, though if an individual as a child consistently showed signs of six of the following nine symptoms for more than six months (and on into adulthood), there’s a good chance for an ADHD/inattentive type diagnosis. Here is a frequently used ADHD checklist:

  1. Very easily distracted and sidetracked
  2. “Spacey” and forgetful throughout the day’s activities
  3. Will often avoid activities that take a lot of mental effort for long periods of time
  4. Doesn’t seem to pay attention when spoken to directly
  5. Frequently has a hard time staying on one task until completion
  6. Careless, sloppy, pays little attention to instructions and details
  7. Often loses materials and/or paperwork required for work and/or activities
  8. Typically disregards instructions, and does not follow through on chores or homework (usually because of a lack of comprehension, not out of rebellion).
  9. Has difficulty with organization and tidiness

ADHD/Hyperactive-Impulsive TypeThis type is far less common in children, though this type of the disorder typically manifests the type of behaviors most associated with ADHD. Only about 5 percent of with the disorder are classified as this type, and usually signs of ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive will have been recognized by the time a child is of preschool age. Most of the other ADHD diagnoses will be of the inattentive type, or the combined type.

Hyperactive/Impulsive individuals when children are typically viewed as “bratty,” obnoxious, unruly, wild, ill-behaved, etc. A hyperactive individual may have been very likeable as a child, but may have been considered to be an incorrigible “class clown.” Individuals who grow up with this type of ADHD are often thrill-seekers, restlessly active, etc. As children they may have grabbed toys from other children and/or refused to share long after classmates had learned the concept. Hyperactive child may have frequently continued to play at recess in school after the bell rang to go back inside, and may have frequently pretended not to hear parents and teachers. It would come as no surprise to see them push other children, yell, frighten/intimidate others, etc. Hyperactive-Impulsive children were most often those that would not nap, sit still, or stop disturbing a class by talking to others–they were often seen as “problem children.”

Your child grown into an adult with the hyperactive-impulsive disorder would likely have shown six of the following nine symptoms consistently over six months, many of which would have carried forward into adulthood:

  1. Frequent trouble doing leisure activities quietly
  2. Is ever on the go (think of someone being “driven by a motor”)
  3. Is a “pushy” driver, having difficulty waiting for his or her turn
  4. Talks excessively, rapidly
  5. “Fidgety” or “bouncy” with hands and feet, squirmy while seated
  6. Frequently stands up from sitting
  7. Excessively restless at inappropriate times
  8. Interrupts others/blurts out responses before the other person finishes talking
  9. Intrusive and “pushy” personality

Combined ADHD Type: Inattentive and Hyperactive-impulsiveThis type of ADHD is by far the most common, with obvious symptoms of both types. Keep in mind that not all individuals with ADHD display the full list of symptoms – someone with ADHD may have shown all the symptoms of one type, or several from each.

Some combination of the above symptoms need to have been consistently present for at least six months, symptoms need to have been made manifest before the age of seven years and been more pronouncedly manifest than childhood peers of the same age, and symptoms need to have consistently persisted through adolescence and adulthood.

In the next article in our ADHD series, we will discuss known causes of the condition, diagnoses, and treatment.

Are you concerned about the possibility that you may have ADHD? It is treatable and manageable. If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.

The Top 5 Mental Health Blogs You Should Be Following

Best mental health blogs

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Top mental health blogs? Maybe it’s never occurred to you to follow one.

It’s no simple task to keep up with all the latest in regards to mental health research, updates, news, etc. To be sure, it’s a landscape that is constantly in flux. If you live with a mental illness, or have someone you care about that does, you should be following as many expert mental health blogs and writers on as many related and relevant mental health issues as you can. Many are fighting hard to reframe the mental health discussion, tear down misperceptions and stigma regarding mental health, and to just give you a new way to think about the issues you face. With any luck, one day the world can be one where mental health issues are taken seriously, and those with mental health are not discriminated against.

Check out some of the following blogs and writers, and see if you can’t learn something new from them:

  • Reddit (Mental Health/Mental Illness)
    For those not familiar with Reddit, it is a U.S.-based social news aggregation, web quality content rating, and open discussion website. Registered members can submit content to the site such as articles, text posts, images, and other links, and then the Reddit community votes each post up or down. The most popular and interesting, relevant, and interesting posts surface to the top.Website: https://www.reddit.com/r/mentalillness
    About This Blog: A place for openly discussing mental health and mental illness with other interested community members
    Frequency: Nearly 30 new posts weekly
    Facebook followers: 1,159,181  Twitter followers: 565K
  • The Mental Elf (Mental Health)
    Oxford, UKA resource to help you find just what you need in keeping up-to-date with all of the latest important and reliable mental health research and guidance. Blog posts featuring short and snappy summaries that highlight evidence-based publications relevant to mental health practice.Website: https://www.nationalelfservice.net/mental-health/
    About This Blog: Keeping you up to date with the latest reliable mental health research, policy, and tips.
    Frequency: 3 new posts weekly
    Facebook followers: 5,641  Twitter followers: 59.6K
  • Sluiter Nation (Mental Health)
    West MichiganKatie Sluiter (pronounced “Sly-ter”) is a wife, a mother, a teacher, a reader, and a writer living in a small town in West Michigan. She has a Master’s Degree in English Education from Western Michigan University and teaches in a Title 1 Junior High School near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her writing has been published in the 2012 anthology of Every Day Poets, the May 2013 issue of Baby Talk Magazine, the book Three Minus One ,  the anthology My Other Ex, and in the Language Arts Journal of Michigan. Most recently her essay about her struggle with postpartum depression was published in Mothering Through the Darkness: Women Open Up About the Postpartum Experience.Website: https://www.sluiternation.com
    About This Blog: Katie has experienced many challenges in her life including various losses and mental health issues. The adversity she has faced inspired her to write her story and set up a blog to provide inspiration to the people and mothers, who like her, grapple with mental illness.
    Frequency: 2 new posts weekly
    Facebook fans: 1,274  Twitter followers: 5,981
  • Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. (Mindfulness/Psychotherapy)
    West Los Angeles, CADr. Goldstein is currently a licensed Psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and also teaches mindfulness-based programs through The Center for Mindful Living and InsightLA. It’s all about mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to cultivate awareness of the present moment while putting aside our programmed biases. It is being in connection with the direct experience of the present moment, the here and now.Website: http://elishagoldstein.com/blog/
    About This Blog: Articles, free audio/video, and other resources that can give you insights into working through a mental illness and toward growth and recovery. Stress? Anxiety? Depression? Trauma? Addictive behaviors? No matter what you bring to the table, this is a place where you will find help and support.
    Frequency: 4 new posts monthly
    Facebook followers: 11,085  Twitter followers: 20K
  • From Both Sides of the Couch | Psychology Today (Mental Health)
    New York, NYA therapist reflecting on her time with patients…and her time as a patient. Her writing explores her journey with mental illness and healing.Website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/both-sides-the-couch
    About This Blog:  Gerri Luce is a licensed clinical social worker, publishing under a pseudonym to share her experience and insights. Now in her 50s, she spent her late twenties and thirties battling anorexia, major depression, and borderline personality disorder. Her essays have appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies.
    Frequency: About 1 new post monthly
    Facebook followers: 7,384,665  Twitter followers: 571K

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start following a mental health blog that really speaks to you! Come to think of it, why not keep up with the valuable information in this blog?

 Do you or someone you love struggle with mental health issues? Fear not! You got this! If you or someone close to you need to talk to someone about mental health issues that seem overwhelming, we can help. Consider reaching out to our expert team at Solara Mental Health at 844-600-9747.