Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Is it ADD? Or ADHD? What's the difference?
The difference is mainly one of terminology, which can be confusing at times, whereas the "official" clinical diagnosis is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or AD/HD.
Most people use the term ADD as a generic term for all types of AD/HD. The term ADD has gained popularity among the general public, in the media, and is even commonly used among professionals. Whether we call it ADD or AD/HD, however, we are all basically referring to the same thing. According to epidemiological data, approximately 4% to 6% of the U.S. population has ADHD. That is about 8 to 9 million adults.
At Phoenix Family Medical Clinic we diagnose and treat mild symptoms of ADHD and refer out patients for expert treatment to Behavior specialists.
To assign Ad/HD diagnosis for a patient the most common features include:
- distractibility (poor sustained attention to tasks)
- impulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification)
- hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness)
ADD/ADHD that is undiagnosed and untreated can cause problems in virtually every area of your life.
- Physical and mental health problems. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can contribute to a variety of health problems, including compulsive eating, substance abuse, anxiety, chronic stress and tension, and low self-esteem. You may also run into trouble due to neglecting important check-ups, skipping doctor appointments, ignoring medical instructions, and forgetting to take vital medications.
- Work and financial difficulties. Adults with ADD/ADHD often experience career difficulties and feel a strong sense of underachievement. You may have trouble keeping a job, following corporate rules, meeting deadlines, and sticking to a 9-to-5 routine. Managing finances may also be a problem: you may struggle with unpaid bills, lost paperwork, late fees, or debt due to impulsive spending.
- Relationship problems. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD can put a strain on your work, love, and family relationships. You may be fed up with constant nagging from loved ones to tidy up, listen more closely, or get organized. Those close to you, on the other hand, may feel hurt and resentful over your perceived "irresponsibility" or "insensitivity".
The wide-reaching effects of ADD/ADHD can lead to embarrassment, frustration, hopelessness, disappointment, and loss of confidence. You may feel like you'll never be able to get your life under control. That's why a diagnosis of adult ADD/ADHD can be an enormous source of relief and hope.
We Can Treat Mild Forms of ADHD at Phoenix family Medical Clinic, for severe symptoms we will refer the patient out to a specialist behavioral physician or counselor.
Stimulant medications, like methylphenidate (Ritalin, Focalin, Concerta, and so on), do make people without ADHD more alert and awake; they stimulate activity in the frontal regions of the brain. The reason they don't make hyperactive adults more restless is that these parts of the brain are underactive in those with ADHD. There is not enough norepinephrine and dopamine to send signals between neurons to stimulate the mind to pay attention or sit still.
As far as we know, you can take it for as many years as you may need to manage your symptoms and reduce related impairments. At this time, manufacturers of such medications recommend that women discontinue taking ADHD medications when they become pregnant.