What are ADD and ADHD?
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are neurobiological conditions that develop due to dysfunction in areas of the brain that control attention, sensorimotor function, and executive function.
Executive function is an umbrella term that includes a group of high-level skills needed to direct your actions, exert self-control, and achieve goals.
Although ADD and ADHD are often diagnosed in childhood, about 30-70% of children who have ADHD see the condition persist into adulthood.
What are the symptoms of ADD and ADHD?
Patients with ADHD have three types of symptoms: impulsivity, inattentiveness, and hyperactivity. The difference between ADD and ADHD is that patients with ADD have trouble with inattention, but they do not have hyperactivity or impulsivity.
These are a few examples of the behaviors associated with each category:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Easily distracted or do not finish tasks
- Do not seem to listen
- Often lose things
- Do not follow instructions
- Hard time organizing activities
Hyperactivity and impulsivity
- Always on the go
- Very high energy and fidgety
- Hard to sit still
- Cannot engage in quiet activities
- Talks excessively
- Often interrupts
Although they generally have the same symptoms as children, adults often have more significant deficits in executive functioning. They also have a hard time regulating their emotions.
Both adults and children with ADD and ADHD have trouble with working memory, but it’s one of the key struggles in adults. Without this ability to temporarily store information, it’s hard to learn, follow instructions, plan actions, or achieve a goal.
How are ADD and ADHD treated?
Dr. Marzili conducts a complete screening to determine whether you or your child have ADD or ADHD. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, medication to improve attention and reduce hyperactivity, if needed, is often the first line of treatment.
With the proper medication, it’s easier to focus, ignore distractions, and become more successful at school, home, and work.
The medications Dr. Marzili prescribes for ADD and ADHD are often stimulants, which sounds like the opposite of what someone with hyperactivity should take. However, stimulants increase chemicals in the brain that improve attention and thinking.
Patients with ADD or ADHD often benefit from behavioral therapy. This is especially beneficial because it teaches ways to change dysfunctional habits and behaviors and help learn how to become more organized.
If you or your child struggle with inattention or hyperactivity, call Dr. Thomas J. Marzili, MD, in Marlton, New Jersey, or request an appointment online today.