Symptoms and Signs of ADHD and ADD

What are the typical symptoms and signs of ADHD and ADD?

Attention deficit disorder (ADD), or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), generally appears early in childhood, before the age of seven. The disorder affects inhibition, causing the afflicted individual to have difficulty controlling spontaneous responses such as some speech patterns and attentiveness.

The signs and symptoms of ADD / ADHD can be difficult to distinguish in young children, as they appear to be the activities of a typically boisterous child. A true ADD / ADHD child, however, will exhibit most of the disruptive symptoms and signs of ADHD / ADD repeatedly over a period of time, in most situations including home, school, and in recreational activities.

Many children have episodes of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity; however, they may not necessarily have ADD / ADHD. An accurate diagnosis should be made by a mental health professional familiar with the condition, so as to eliminate the possibility of conditions that can mimic the symptoms and signs of ADHD / ADD.

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A note about Symptoms and Signs of ADHD and ADD

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.

These include traumatic or major life events that disrupt the child’s life and cause stress (such as the death of a relative, or a divorce), learning disabilities, behavioral disorders apart from ADD / ADHD such as oppositional defiant disorder, psychological disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, and certain medical conditions like sleep disorders, neurological conditions or epilepsy.

ADD / ADHD present a broad spectrum of behavioral patterns in children. So, what exactly are the signs of ADHD? Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity have been determined to be three main traits which manifest to varying degrees in individual children.

Though some may indeed be predominantly hyperactive, others sit quietly but cannot focus their attention, while others manifest obsessive traits and put too much focus on one task and then have trouble tearing their attention away. These ADD / ADHD children will sometimes be diagnosed with co-occurring obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Still other children have more normal attention spans but have very high impulsivity. Hyperactivity may be the most noticeable or obvious trait, yet inattentiveness often has longer lasting consequences, including poor academic performance, lack of quality social relationships, and difficulties with superiors who try to give instructions.

Many children with ADD / ADHD can direct their attention to pleasant or enjoyable topics, but “zone-out” when presented with repetitive or otherwise boring tasks; this is one of the signs of ADHD / ADD.

Affected children generally have above average intelligence, or may even be quite gifted; however, they display trouble channeling their intellectual prowess into appropriate avenues. Many children with ADD / ADHD seem to rapidly move from on activity to another, and not focus on completing the task at hand step-by-step. They often require calm, quiet environments to complete their work, as distractions easily tear their attention away.

Organizing activities, too, often present a challenge. Hyperactive children often keep moving even when trying to sit still, and drum their fingers or tap their foot continually. Impulsivity means that children lack judgment and self-control. Often they blurt out inappropriate questions or comments before thinking them through, or they have difficulty processing cause-effect relationships.

They may also act in a socially inappropriate way, such as interrupting conversation or standing too close for another’s comfort. Children with marked impulsivity may also be overly emotional (but with high EQ), and can be prone to mood swings.

Professionals use the following criteria to diagnose ADD / ADHD:

  • Early onset - Symptoms and signs of ADHD / ADD must have begun before age 7.

  • Duration - The specific combination of symptoms must have persisted for at least half a year.

  • Settings - The symptoms must occur in two or more environments, such as home and school, or another social setting.

  • Impact - The symptoms must have a negative impact on the individual’s school, family, and / or social life.

  • Developmental level - The symptoms cannot be traced to the child’s normal developmental level.

  • Alternative explanation - Another physical, mental or emotional disorder has not caused the symptoms and signs of ADHD / ADD.

Though ADD / ADHD can be challenging, affected children also have many positive qualities that tie in with their condition, such as increased creativity and imagination, flexibility and open-mindedness, enthusiasm and spontaneity, and of course, energy and drive. These positive characteristics can really shine through if children have access to appropriate behavioral modification therapies and other natural treatments that help them cope with their symptoms and go on to lead very productive and inspiring lives.

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