There are always people newly diagnosed with ADHD who have questions about what it is, so I thought a little ADD 101 was in order.
ADD, ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder – which one is it? Many years ago when Attention Deficit Disorder was first being recognized, it was thought that there were two kinds: ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
More recently the thought changed to include hyperactivity across the board, so it became ADHD.
Even more recently, ADHD has been split into 3 types:
ADHD Combined, which includes inattention as well as hyperactivity and impulsiveness
ADHD Predominantly Inattentive, which does not include hyperactivity and impulsiveness and
ADHD Predominantly Hyperactive Impulsive which does not include inattention
Confused yet? Personally, I think that by trying to make things clearer, they have been made worse.
In order to be diagnosed as ADHD (whichever type), certain symptoms have to be present, interfering with daily life, and present in more than one situation – work and home, for instance. Other mental health issues must also be ruled out.
In the past, children under the age of 7 years were not diagnosed. That has since changed and we are seeing more very young children identified as ADHD.
For a full list of symptoms, see the CDC’s site here.
Doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, social workers with a masters, nurse practitioners and neurologists can all diagnose ADHD.
ADDitude Magazine has an excellent article about diagnosing ADHD with pros and cons for each type of professional. You can find that here.
It is widely accepted that the best treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication and coaching or other therapy. Psychologists and social workers may work with clients who have ADHD teaching them basic management skills.
In addition, there are other holistic life style changes that can positively impact ADHD symptoms, such as:
Getting enough sleep
Eating a healthy diet with an emphasis on lean protein
Maintaining adequate hydration throughout the day
Getting regular exercise
Adding Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplements
Throughout the next few days, I will be discussing ADHD in more depth, including medication, inattention, hyperactivity and more.