ADHD: What is it and how to identify it?  

Find out everything about ADHD: what it is, its symptoms, how to identify it, what tests exist to diagnose it... Don’t miss out!



What is ADHD?

We begin this article with a few clarifications and history. The acronym corresponds to Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.

In 2013 the APA, American Psychiatric Association, revised the diagnostic criteria of this neurobiological condition in its fifth edition which, up to that point, only fell within Disorders of children and adolescents and, after scientific research and evidence, its presence in adulthood was confirmed.

30% of children and adolescents achieve a complete remission of symptoms: And the rest? There are those who retain residual symptoms, who reach adulthood and continue to be influenced by this disorder which affects their personal, working, family and social life.

Aware of this reality, we briefly define a neurobiological condition, most cases of which are diagnosed in childhood. Within this disorder, three very important areas for development and learning are affected: issues with attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

Attention deficit or ADHD: What are its symptoms?

We could say that there are as many diagnoses of ADHD as there are people, it manifests itself in very different ways.

It is important to clarify that the use of the term attention deficit has become highly normalised to refer to the diagnostic category of ADHD. From a technical, medical and/or scientific point of view, it is inaccurate, bearing in mind that there are many more symptoms.

The symptoms related to inattention are as follows: difficulty in paying full attention, making errors due to carelessness, difficulty in remaining attentive in tasks or activities, appearing not to listen when spoken to directly, difficulty in following instructions and problems in organising tasks and activities.

Hyperactivity manifests itself in the form of: restlessness, difficulty in staying seated, running or moving too much in inappropriate situations and talking excessively.

Impulsiveness is reflected in a difficulty waiting turns, interrupting others, needing to talk and not being able to inhibit behaviour in situations where this is expected.

Attention deficit: diagnostic test

There is no diagnostic or medical test that enables a correct diagnosis. The intervention of various professionals is required in order to diagnose collaboratively: paediatricians, neurologists, neuropaediatricians, psychiatrists and psychologists, along with the family, the school and/or collaboration with the patient, to make the diagnosis possible and set out the future plan of action.

Knowledge of evolutionary development, the family situation and environment, education received, teaching-learning processes, school or workplace production, social relationships and many others enable us to understand the context the disorder has emerged in.

How can attention deficit affect day-to-day life?

The diagnosis of the disorder in itself reflects the influence and commitment of the day-to-day tasks of the person suffering from it: from an academic environment to interpersonal relationships.

  • School/professional environment: difficulty concentrating on tasks, forgetting things and slip-ups that affect this area, lack of organisation and low performance.
  • Interpersonal relationships: impulsiveness and lack of attention can make maintaining relationships difficult, since people with ADHD can have problems listening to others and following social norms.
  • Personal/family sphere: persistent difficulties can affect self-esteem, and lead to feelings of frustration and low self-worth.

In conclusion, to comprehend and understand ADHD, it is vital to give those suffering from it the appropriate support. A multidisciplinary approach and early identification are essential to address the challenges associated with this disorder.