Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that causes impairments in sustaining attention and controlling behavior. Symptoms typically begin in childhood and often persist into adulthood causing problems in school, work, and relationships.
ADHD is one of the most heritable mental health conditions often running in families. ADHD impacts an individual’s executive functions. The pre-frontal cortex of the brain is predominantly responsible for the executive functions – planning, emotional control, organization, starting behaviors, stopping behaviors, working memory, and other skills. Dysfunction in the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Noradrenaline are also suspected to cause ADHD.
Individuals with ADHD can present with difficulties maintaining focus on non-stimulating tasks. Children and adults with ADHD may also have difficulty controlling their behavior and bodies. These individuals may be described as forgetful, always moving, disorganized, and unfocused. ADHD can negatively impact an individual’s academic and occupational performance along with their relationships. It is common to also observe addictive behaviors as a means of coping with ADHD. Treatments can involve medications and therapies.
Psychological testing can be a helpful tool in assessing for ADHD. An ADHD evaluation involves neuropsychological testing measuring executive functioning performance; behavioral rating scales; and clinical interviews with family or academic personnel. There is often a large overlap between ADHD and other mental health conditions like Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and other conditions. Psychological testing can be a helpful tool in identifying what symptoms are due to a particular condition.
At the conclusion of an ADHD evaluation, treatment recommendations, lifestyle changes, and strengths-based coping skills are discussed. Consultations with school personnel and referrals to treatment providers are also provided.