The diagnosis of ADHD covers a range of psychological symptoms and difficulties with functioning in everyday life.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. Some specialists describe ADHD as a regulating disorder – difficulty with regulating thoughts, emotions, actions and circadian rhythm.
ADHD occurs in childhood years and is characterised by three core symptoms:
- Attention deficit
Attention deficit makes it difficult for a person to plan and work continuously in an organised way. The person is also easily distracted by external and internal stimuli, and has a tendency to forget everyday agreements and mislay things. Hyperactivity manifests itself as an almost constant outer and inner restlessness. Impulsiveness may manifest itself as inappropriate, impulsive actions and verbal statements that can have negative short-term and long-term consequences.
Hyperactivity usually reduces with age. For that reason, it was previously believed that ADHD was something people ‘grew out of’. Today, we know from research that ADHD continues into adulthood in approximately two out of three children diagnosed. One-third will not meet the diagnostic criteria as adults, but most people will still have functional impairments in different areas of their lives.
ADHD core symptoms may lead to difficulty functioning in everyday life, in the family, when studying, at work and in leisure time. The difficulties can increase as greater demands are applied – e.g. when the person leaves home to live with a partner or spouse, and has children. They can cause low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence, and the adult with ADHD will often also experience significant sleep disruption, which exacerbates daytime difficulties. Recent findings have shown that as many as 80% of adults with ADHD develop other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse.