Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD Information


The initials ADHD refer to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are 3 types of ADHD. The first type can make it difficult for an individual to focus/concentrate and may be accompanied by distracting or negative thinking.

The second type of ADHD can make it difficult for an individual to control their impulsive tendencies and/or keep themselves physically still and remain calm for any amount of time. The third type is a combination of both.

Many people associate ADHD with children. Hyperactivity may invoke visions of kids in elementary school, but ADHD is also prevalent in adults where ADHD might not even be diagnosed, or possibly misdiagnosed as something else.

While physical hyperactivity may be present, many ADHD patients (especially adults) may show little or no sign of physical hyperactivity. However, they will most likely experience some form of impulse control problem or mental hyperactivity.

Mental hyperactivity can manifest itself in repetitive distractive thoughts of anger, anxiety, confusion, cynicism, depression, fantasy, frustration, irritability, negativity, perfectionism, sadness, violence, or other similar things.

Difficulty with focus/concentration, poor impulse control, mental/physical hyperactivity are the main symptoms of ADHD. Depending on the type of ADHD, one or more of these symptoms will be present.

ADHD Other Symptoms
ADHD Subtypes
ADHD In Children
ADHD In Adults
Associated Disorders
ADHD And Genetics


Other Common ADHD Related Symptoms

Problems with focus/concentration, impulse control, hyperactivity are the main symptoms of ADHD. Other common symptoms that patient and physicians may overlook include signs like anxiety, chronic pain, depression, low energy, and/or insomnia.

1) --- Anxiety that is related of the mental hyperactivity aspect of ADHD. This may cause the patient to seek council from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

2) --- Chronic Pain with no apparent cause may be occuring. Doctors may overlook this and try to find a physical cause, never associating ADHD with pain.

3) --- Depression is common and physicians may try to treat it directly, rather than treating it as a symptom of the underlying attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

4) --- Low Energy may lead a doctor to believe an ADHD sufferer has CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or another similar malady.

5) --- Insomnia may be present even when a person is generally sluggish and oversleeps. The insomnia may only occur intermittently, rather than being an everyday problem.


ADHD Subtypes

1) - ADHD Inattentive Type:
It includes only problems related to mental activities like focus and concentration, distractive or negative thinking. Symptoms of impulsivity and physical hyperactivity are absent.
--- Difficulty focusing thoughts on one thing.
--- Difficulty concentrating for any amount of time.
--- Easily frustrated.
--- Easily distracted.
--- Low stress tolerance.
--- Frequent mood swings.
--- Recurring negative or detrimental thoughts.
--- Inability to finish tasks.
--- Not paying attention to details.
--- Problems comprehending or following instructions.

2) - ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type:
It includes problems related to mental and physical hyperactivity, as well as impulsiveness. Physical hyperactivity is mainly observed in children.
--- Inability to relax.
--- Difficulty controlling impulses.
--- Doing things at inappropriate times.
--- Doing things without thinking of the results.
--- Interrupting other people.
--- Moving around excessively.

3) - ADHD Combined Type:
The combined type of ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed. People diagnosed with ADHD combined type have symptoms from both ADHD inattentive type and ADHD hyperactive-impulsive type.

Frequently adults suffering from ADHD Combined Type will have problems with focus/concentration and distractive/negative thinking as well as some type of difficulty controlling impulsive tendencies. Children are more likely to also show signs of physical hyperactivity.


ADHD In Children

Some children with ADHD may have behaviour problems that make it apparent that there is something wrong. Other children may not outwardly show signs that make ADHD an easy diagnosis.

ADHD is divided into 3 categories.
1) Problems with attention (focus and concentration).
2) Problems with impulsivity and physical hyperactivity.
3) A combination of the two.

Problems with attention can show in children that find it difficult to focus on one thing and concentrate on it for any amount of time. If there is no impulsivity or physical hyperactivity problem, it can be harder to tell if a child has ADHD.

Problems with impulsivity and physical hyperactivity might become more apparent in a school or group environment where the actions of ADHD affected children may disrupt the entire group.

Children with ADHD will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
--- Trouble focusing the mind.
--- Talk too much.
--- Constantly move.
--- Can't play quietly.
--- Are very impatient.
--- Often forget things.
--- Get distracted easily.
--- Often misplace items.
--- Interrupt other people.
--- Have problems listening.
--- Have difficulty controlling emotions.
--- Have problems following instructions.
--- Interrupt events with inappropriate comments.
--- Switch too quickly from one activity to another.
--- Find it hard to finish tasks like homework or chores.

If it is not diagnosed in childhood, ADHD will become much more difficult to identify as the child gets older. ADHD can ruin a life if not treated as early as possible. It is very important to identify ADHD in childhood.


ADHD In Adults

If ADHD is not diagnosed in childhood it can be hard to diagnose in adults. As a person ages they tend to outgrow physical hyperactivity and to cope with (or hide) symptoms in order to function, earn a living, get along in society, etcetera.

Because ADHD often occurs in combination with other illnesses, a physician may try to treat the other medical issues without ever realizing the ADHD component of the problem.

For example, a person with ADHD that also suffers from depression may go to their doctor for help with depression. The doctor may treat the depression without even realizing that it is associated with ADHD.

If you suffer from mental health issues you might not want to discuss it with a psychiatrist, family doctor, or anyone else. You may think you are weak and have character faults, that are in reality the result of ADHD.

Because chemicals that trigger dopamine receptors can also treat symptoms of the illness, you may be self-medicating and not know it. Drugs that affect dopamine include alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin (including other opioids), many other drugs.

If you have problems with focus/concentration and mild stimulants like caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, or other sources, make you feel tired (rather than more awake and energetic) it could be a sign of ADHD.

If you have problems with focus/concentration while opioids (like hydrocodone and oxycodone) or strong stimulants (like methamphetamine) make you feel normal, rather than high or messed up, it could be a sign of ADHD.

Adults with ADHD will exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:
--- Trouble focusing the mind.
--- Mental hyperactivity.
--- Trouble dealing with impulses.
--- Trouble dealing with anger.
--- Trouble dealing with emotions.
--- Trouble relaxing.
--- No motivation.
--- Mood swings.
--- Forgetfulness.
--- Racing thoughts.
--- Short attention span.
--- Negative self-image.
--- Employment problems.
--- Difficulties dealing with others.
--- Reckless driving and road rage.

Adults with ADHD might experience more criticism because of their behavior. This may cause them to be unnecessarily defensive and result in having trouble standing up for themselves in an appropriate manner.

Dealing with emotions is usually a problem for those with ADHD. In relationships this can cause problems including those related to aggressiveness, dependency, inappropriate behavior, lack of confidence, low sense of self-worth, etcetera.

Everyone experiences symptoms at times, but people with ADHD experience many symptoms full time. Depending on the individual this can be over a period of years or decades.

People who for any reason think they might be an adult with undiagnosed ADHD should be sure to talk to a professional. Treatment for adults with ADHD can include medication and psychological counseling.


ADHD Associated Disorders

--- Antisocial Personality Disorder.
--- Autism.
--- Bipolar Disorder.
--- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
--- Chronic Pain With Unknown Cause.
--- Communication Problems.
--- Conduct Disorder.
--- Depression.
--- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
--- Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
--- Restless Legs Syndrome.
--- Schizophrenia.
--- Seasonal Affective Disorder.
--- Sensory Integration Disorder.
--- Speech Problems.
--- Tourette Syndrome.
--- Anxiety Disorders.
--- Eating Disorders.
--- Sleep Disorders.
--- Other Personality Disorders.


ADHD And Genetics

CNTNAP2 Gene: The CNTNAP2 gene is thought to be involved with ADHD, autism, epilepsy, intellectual disability, schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, speech and language problems. CNTNAP2 is an neurexin protein, and in the human genome it is one of the largest genes.

COMT Gene: Variations in the COMT gene are related to ADHD, perception of pain, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, schizophrenia. The gene is associated with the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine.

DBH Gene: Variations in the DBH gene are related to an increased risk of ADHD and may be involved in psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and major depression. The gene is involved with synthesizing the dopamine beta-hydroxylase enzyme that converts dopamine to norepinephrine.

DRD4 Gene: This gene encodes the D4 dopamine receptor. The DRD4-7R, the 7-repeat (7R) variant of the gene is linked to ADHD, novelty seeking behavior, autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Dopamine receptor D4 is associated with addiction, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, Parkinson's, schizophrenia.

DRD5 Gene: A variant of the DRD5 gene is related to an increased risk of ADHD. The DRD5 gene is involved with synthesizing the D5 dopamine receptor. The neurotransmitter dopamine binds to the D5 dopamine neuroreceptor and triggers it to send a chemical signal.

FMR1 Gene: Premutation in the FMR1 is associated with ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual disability, developmental disorders affecting communication and social interaction. The FMR1 gene is involved in making the protein FMRP, that may influence development of the synapses between neurons.

GTF2I Gene: The GTF2I gene is related to 7q11.23 duplication syndrome which causes an extra copy of the GTF2I gene, and several other genes, in cells. Associated problems include ADHD, anxiety disorders (including social phobia), physical aggression, oppositional defiant disorder, autistic behaviors affecting communication and social interaction.

SLC6A3 Gene: Variations in the SLC6A3 gene are related to an increased risk of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. The SLC6A3 gene is involved with synthesizing the dopamine active transporter (DAT) protein. DAT transports dopamine away from synapses to be stored until needed. DAT is also associated with bipolar disorder and depression.

Other genes that may influence ADHD include:
ADGRL3 is associated with brain cell communication.
ADRA2A is associated with norepinephrine.
ADRA2C is associated with catecholamines.
BDNF is associated with neurotransmission.
CHRNA4 is associated with acetylcholine.
DRD1 is associated with dopamine.
DRD2 is associated with dopamine.
DRD3 is associated with dopamine.
HTR2A is associated with serotonin.
HTR1B is associated with serotonin.
MAOA is associated with monoamine oxidase A.
MAOB is associated with monoamine oxidase B.
SLC6A2 is associated with norepinephrine.
SLC6A4 is associated with serotonin.
SNAP25 is associated with neurotransmission.
SorCS2 regulates dopaminergic wiring.
TPH2 is associated with serotonin.


Notes

1 --- There are individuals who refer to ADHD without hyperactivity as inattentive ADD (attention deficit disorder).

2 --- Although some people with ADHD have short attention spans for regular everyday things, they may be able to focus for long periods on things they find interesting, or novel experiences.

3 --- Drugs that people with ADHD tend to prefer include tobacco, alcohol, cannabis products, opioids. Tobacco, cannabis and opioids treat some of the symptoms of ADHD. Alcohol doesn't treat symptoms as well but some people use it to help cope.

4 --- Mental depression is often associated with ADHD. It can last for short or extended periods of time and may alternate with manic symptoms, which are opposite to those of depression.

Physical depression may also be a factor, physical depression may manifest itself through feeling as though the message from the brain telling the body to move is being hindered or blocked.

It may also be accompanied by the sensation of pain or having no energy when a person tries to move. The depressive symptoms are probably related to reduced levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

5 --- Potential influences on ADHD:
a --- Genetics is a major contributing factor.
b --- ADHD may in some cases be the result of brain injury.
c --- Environment: mother smoking and drinking while pregnant, exposure to toxic chemicals like lead, home environment, etc.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that are involved with communication between different parts of the brain, and communication between the brain and body.

At the present time, one of the primary methods of treating ADHD is medication that affects the neurotransmitters related to dopamine and norepinephrine. Some lesser employed medications affect other neurotransmitters.

Other forms of ADHD treatment include various forms of therapy including cognitive therapy and anger management. As medicine progresses, gene therapy may make it possible to correct errors and prevent symptoms of ADHD.