What Is ADHD and How Do I Know If I Have It?

Many people ask themselves “What is ADHD and how do I know if I have it?” They may also wonder if their child is showing symptoms of ADHD. The term “ADHD” is often heard at home, professional settings, in the media and in many casual conversations. This can create confusion or misinformation so here is a brief overview of “ADHD.”

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), commonly called ADD, includes symptoms of inattention (difficulty paying attention), hyperactivity (a lot of extra movement), and impulsivity (doing things without thinking). We often hear ADD, when talking about an Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) diagnosis. However, from a clinical perspective there is only one disorder, and that is ADHD. ADHD includes three types: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined.

Inattentive Type: easily distracted, frequent daydreaming, makes careless mistakes, misses details, poor focus, disorganized, forgetful, difficulty finishing tasks

Hyperactive-Implusive Type: fidgety, difficulty sitting still, very high energy level, too talkative, interrupts others, has a hard time waiting their turn

Combined Type: symptoms of inattention and hyperactive-impulsive are present.

Diagnosis:

Brain

No one test that can accurately diagnose ADHD. Though many websites and professionals provide “screeners” for ADHD, these do not equal a diagnosis. Based on the age and the challenges of the person, several tests are given and information from different sources is reviewed. Symptoms of ADHD are easy to confuse with other learning and emotional challenges. Moreover, different genders and ages often show different symptoms or patterns. It is important to keep in mind that we may all show signs of inattention at varying levels or frequency. When symptoms began, how long they have been present, and how much they impact daily functioning is key in accurate diagnosis. This is why it is important to seek a mental health specialist.

Learning Dynamics believes in a comprehensive approach to diagnosis. This means that we look at several possible diagnoses or reasons that may explain the symptoms and problems that a family shares with us. Exploring a range of possibilities helps us to make a more accurate ADHD diagnosis. We can also find out if there are other diagnoses present. For example, a learning disability.

Comprehensive testing is the most accurate way to diagnosis true ADHD. Based on the child or adult’s experience, we select several areas to examine in addition to attention and concentration. Examples include mental speed, multi-tasking, memory, general intelligence, school functioning, emotions and mood, auditory and visual information processing, and problem behaviors. This is why many schools and testing boards require comprehensive testing to support diagnosis and need for accommodations. To learn more about our testing services click here .

Treatment:

Individuals who struggle with ADHD symptoms (regardless of formal diagnosis) are often impacted in their everyday lives. Be it at work, school, or home, problems related to ADHD can interfere with a person’s ability to learn, process information, interact with others, and their emotional states. Our treatment approach comes from our comprehensive understanding of people’s learning, information processing, emotional experiences, and behaviors. Working with our clients, we develop individualized treatment plans to help them reach a total sense of well-being.

As such, in addition to traditional counseling, we created our Brain Bootcamp program. Brain Bootcamp is a therapeutic learning and performance enhancement program. We take the traditional aspects of counseling and add our expertise in learning and information processing. In addition to ADHD, our Brain Bootcamp program can help individuals dealing with other struggles too (ie.., learning disabilities, mental health difficulties, etc). To learn more about our Brain Bootcamp program click here.

Want More Information?

Visit our main website here to learn more about our agency and various programs. We are also available via phone (310-855-3276) or email (info@learningdynamicsinc.org). OR you may attend our FREE open community forums “Ask a Psychologist,” which take place the first Tuesday (Woodland Hills) and Wednesday (Bakersfield) of each month. Click here to learn more about “Ask a Psychologist.”

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