ADHD Symptoms; What Are The Odds That You Have It
Growing up, many of us have experienced bouts of impulsivity and distractibility as energetic children. In adulthood, these behaviors reminiscent of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be due to the overwhelming demands of work, school or home life. However, there’s a difference between having these traits and being diagnosed with the brain disorder.
In Life Noggin’s video, “What Are The Chances You ACTUALLY Have ADHD?” host Pat Graziosi and co-host Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory explain ADHD is a brain disorder that’s identified by levels of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that are considered atypical. ADHD’s inattention refers to a person wandering off-task; not being very organized; or having a hard time staying focused. Hyperactivity is when a person doesn’t seem to stop moving, or excessively fidgets or talks, while impulsivity is shown when a person makes quick decisions without thinking them over, especially if the impact of the decision is significant.
It’s common to have times of inattention, sporadic motor activity, or even times of impulsivity, but in people with ADHD, these times are far more severe and frequent. These symptoms are more likely to interfere with the quality of their social life or affect their performance at school or at work. ADHD is seen as a childhood condition that often continues on into adulthood.
The likelihood of being diagnosed with ADHD varies. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found only about 11 percent of U.S. school-aged children were given an ADHD diagnosis by a healthcare provider. Moreover, the rate of ADHD diagnosis was about double for high school boys than it was for high school girls. It’s important to note these rates are of people being professionally diagnosed, which can vary with the occurrences of ADHD.
Although the percentage seems small, a study conducted by the University of South Carolina found ADHD is both under and over diagnosed. The researchers found a substantial amount of children are being treated for the disorder, while many children who have the symptoms are going untreated. For example, 8.7 percent of children in South Carolina had enough symptoms to fit the ADHD diagnosis at the time of the assessment, while the percentage was 10.6 in Oklahoma. Yet, of children taking ADHD medication in South Carolina, only 39.5 percent, and 28.3 percent in Oklahoma actually met the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis.
In adults, the disorder affects 4.4 percent of the U.S. population, but fewer than 20 percent of these individuals seek help for it. Specifically, 12.9 percent of men and 4.9 percent of women will be diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime. In adulthood, traits like disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, and frequent mood swings are tell-tale signs of ADHD, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Currently, there is no cure, but treatments like medication and psychotherapy can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve a person’s life. Medication for ADHD usually comes in the form of a stimulant, which works by increasing chemicals in the brain like dopamine that aids in thinking and staying focused. Psychotherapy is often in the form of behavior therapy and can help a person finish their work, organize tasks, or cope with emotional situations.