What is ADHD?
The term ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
You may be more familiar with the term ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder. As psychiatric and medical skills improved to understand, categorize, and treat people with attention deficit, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) updated the designation for attention deficit disorders from ADD to ADHD.
What is ADHD? And how is ADHD diagnosed?
There isn’t a specific ADHD test. ADHD is diagnosed by medical and mental health professionals who evaluate certain patterns or symptoms against the DSM’s criteria. What does it look like? Symptoms tend to fall into two categories, those of inattentiveness and those of impulsivity.
Do you or does someone you know struggle with inattentiveness—
- Experiencing difficulty giving attention to details; make careless mistakes at work, school or in other activities?
- Finding it hard to sustain attention at work, school or during activities; difficult to stay focused on conversation, in meetings or while reading?
- Having difficulty listening when spoken to because your mind runs elsewhere?
- Struggling to follow through, finish or complete tasks?
- Managing schedules and possessions; running late, disorganized, losing track of things?
Do you or does someone you know struggle with impulsivity—
- Often fidgeting, tapping hands or feet, squirming?
- Finding it difficult to remain still or in one place when it is required of you?
- Experiencing feelings of restlessness?
- Having difficulty engaging in and enjoying leisure activities?
- Acting recklessly without considering the consequences?
If you recognize some of the symptoms in your life or in someone you love, we understand, and we can help. To speak confidentially with a certified counselor, please call us at (888) 837-6577.
What about the ‘H’?
Adding the ‘H’ into the name helped in some ways but ushered in other confusion—people mistakenly believed hyperactivity had to be present in order to make the diagnosis. 1994’s DSM-IV addressed this, keeping the name ADHD, but splitting diagnosis into three sub-types:
- ADHD – mainly inattentive type
- ADHD – mainly hyperactive/impulsive type
- ADHD – combined inattentive AND hyperactive/impulsive type
The current DSM-V, published in 2013, maintains these terms, and are the official medical/psychiatric terms we used in research and to diagnose, prescribe, and treat.
While adults may experience symptoms of hyper-activity—feeling as if your motor is always running and difficulty being still—many adults don’t. It is important to know, you don’t have to be hyperactive to have ADHD.
Again, is any of this sounding familiar? You may not know if it’s ADHD with this or that, but you know it’s difficult, frustrating, and misunderstood by others. We can help you identify what specifically you’re dealing with, and more importantly help you find relief. Pick up the phone. Make the call.