Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a condition where you have a lot of energy that you struggle to expel. This might make it difficult for you to concentrate and to control your behaviour; you might do or say things impulsively, without thinking.
ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder is a similar condition, however like the name suggests there is no hyperactivity so you won’t have as much excess energy as somebody with ADHD. You will however still struggle to keep your attention focused and so will suffer with poor concentration.
ADHD is usually identified in children between the ages of 3 and 7 as this is when most people start to show clear symptoms of the condition.
If you are struggling with ADHD you might get into trouble at home or school a lot for not listening, for interrupting or ‘talking back’ and for not completing tasks because you struggle to concentrate. You might also find yourself feel restless most of the time and so fidgeting and struggling to sit still.
ADHD is the most common behavioural or neurodevelopmental disorder in children and is more common in boys than girls.
ADHD can make it very difficult to concentrate and so can cause problems in all aspects of your life but particularly school. It is therefore important that if you feel you may have ADHD for you to talk to someone about how you have been feeling and acting and to then go and see your GP.
There is not a simple or straightforward way to test for ADHD but the first thing your GP will do is refer you to see a specialist who has a lot of experience in dealing and treating people with similar issues as your own.
This specialist will then speak through with you how you have been feeling and how this is effecting your everyday life, if you are under 16 they will most probably also like to speak to whoever looks after you and lives with you at home. This will help the specialist to get a better understanding of how you’ve been feeling, acting and how this impacts your life.
If the specialist diagnoses you with ADHD there are a number of different things they might suggest to help reduce your symptoms and the effect they are having.
The specialist you see might suggest some therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), this is where you will talk through how you have been feeling and then how this makes you behave, CBT can then also help you to better control your actions and to change the way you think or feel in certain situations.
Your specialist might also suggest that you and your family attend therapy or meetings together, this will help everyone get a better understanding of how ADHD can make you feel, how it makes you and so how best to support you and to help get your symptoms more under control.
A lot of people with ADHD notice that some types of food and drink can make their symptoms worse and so have a bad effect on their behaviour. Start keeping a food diary of what you eat and how this makes you feel or behave, it will then be easier to spot any patterns and to see what makes your symptoms better or worse.
If your symptoms of ADHD are very bad and are having a negative effect on your school, home and personal life then your specialist might suggest taking some medication alongside the therapy sessions. The medication you will be offered will help to calm you down and so make it easier for you to concentrate.
If you are a child or young person, concerned about your own mental health or that of a friend and need somebody to talk to, people at Childline will be available at any time on 0800 11 11.