Who Has ADHD?

 The Many Faces of ADD and ADHD

Which child is ADHD?


ADHD Hyperactivity and Inattention

The combined type of ADHD involving hyperactivity and inattention is actually the most common among ADHD sufferers.  This is the most extreme type of ADHD, and therefore it is the most difficult to treat.  These individuals are also most at risk for other negative problems in their lives due to the nature of the disorder.

ADHD combined type has six or more symptoms listed in the DSM-IV for Psychiatric disorders in both catagories of hyperactivity and inattention.   

In the category of hyperactivity/impulsivity, an individual must have six or more of the following symptoms: OFTEN .....

  • fidgets while sitting,
  • leaves his/her seat in a structured setting,
  • runs around inappropriately (restlessness),
  • has trouble playing quietly,
  • talks excessively,
  • blurts out answers before the question is completed,
  • has difficulty waiting for his/her turn,  
  • interrupts or intrudes on others.

At least some of these symptoms must be observed before the age of seven, and the behavior must have lasted for at least six months. This is why you need a professional, because these symptoms apply to every child at one time or another.

In the category of inattention, a child must have six or more of the following symptoms: OFTEN ...

  • makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work and other activities,
  • has difficulty keeping his/her attention sustained in a task or play activities,
  • does not seem to listen even when spoken to directly,
  • has difficulty organizing tasks and activities,
  • avoids and dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort,
  • loses things that are necessary for everyday life,
  • is easily distracted 
  • is forgetful in daily activities

Some of these symptoms must have been present before the age of seven, and they must have lasted at least six months.  Again, you need the professional, since these symptoms apply to all of us at one time or another.

Children with Combined Type ADHD have higher rates of conduct disorder (Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder).  They also have higher rates of bipolar disorder. 

Both children and adults with combined type ADHD are in a higher risk group for addition psychiatric disorders.

I think the biggest problem for parents who have a child with this type must be determining what is symptomatic of ADHD and what is a result of the child's response to ADHD. Parents must always be on the lookout for problems and so can lose sight of the objective of rewarding acceptable behavior.

The best way to keep a child out of trouble is to reward them when they do well, especially if they have controlled their own behavior or completed a task without being told or supervised. This applies to all children with particular emphasis on the ADHD child.

Consulting with a medical professional from the outset can minimize any chance that your child will experience difficulties in their lives.  Just keep in mind that problems in the emotional, psychological and social domains are a result of a response to having ADHD, and not the disorder itself. 

When your child with Combined Type ADHD reaches his/her teenage years and into young adulthood, he/she will be at a higher risk than other young people for general illegal activities, including illegal drugs and drinking. 

Perhaps it is easier for ADHD children to enter the world of illegal drugs.  They have been on drugs for as long as they can remember.  Everyone wants a feel good fix and ADHD children sometimes feel that they fit in better with the group that engages in illegal activities.  Within that group they have no pressure to be good or complete school work or be like a brother or sister who does not suffer from ADHD.

Maintaining a good relationship with your ADHD child becomes even more important when you realize what the consequences can be for that child as they enter their teenage years.

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Sharon Owen edits and publishes Answers for Your Health.com/ADHD.  Now you can get answers to your health questions in plain language. http://www.answersforyourhealth.com or http://www.answersforyourhealth.com/ADHD.html

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