3 years ago

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, impacts approximately one in twenty Australians and is a highly complex neurodevelopmental disorder. While it’s one of the most common mental disorders found in children, it can also be diagnosed in adults. ADHD is currently under-diagnosed and this is largely due to the prevalence of misinformation and a lack of understanding of the condition.

ADHD Symptoms 

The signs of ADHD fall into two behavioural problem categories. The first is inattentiveness, and the second is hyperactivity and/or impulsiveness. ADHD diagnosis in children is fairly straightforward, with symptoms often arising before the child starts school. It’s important to remember that a child with ADHD will likely display persistent patterns of the below behaviours, as opposed to one-off instances. 

Inattentiveness (symptoms can include, but are not limited to)  

  • A short attention span and easily distracted 
  • Is often forgetful 
  • Is unable to pay attention to instructions or carry them out 
  • Is unable to focus on the task at hand and finds it difficult to organise tasks 

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness (symptoms can include, but are not limited to) 

  • Is overactive, particularly in a quiet environment. This could include fidgeting, unable to sit still or lacking patience (ie, unable to wait their turn). 
  • Doing something without thinking, or having a limited or no sense of danger 
  • Talking excessively or interrupting conversations 

In addition to the above, those with ADHD often find it difficult to manage their emotions. This can include erratic changes in moods, heightened emotions in general (either excited or angry), and a negative outlook on day-to-day tasks or situations. 

It’s worth noting that some symptoms of ADHD are positive and should be embraced. Research has found that people with ADHD also display the following traits: curious, imaginative, creative and innovative, and they often thrive in environments that are challenging and fast-paced. 

Diagnosing and treating ADHD

When it comes to officially diagnosing ADHD, the signs and symptoms of ADHD as listed above must appear before the age of 12. The disorder is diagnosed using a key set of criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. 

In order to be diagnosed, the listed symptoms need to be considered ‘excessive’ for the developmental age of the person, need to be evident for over 6 months and are present across multiple life situations such as home, school or childcare etc. 

While ADHD can be extremely disruptive to a person’s day-to-day life, with appropriate and evidence-based treatment and the right support, those living with ADHD can learn to manage their issues, build on their strengths and live a very enriched life. 

How we can help 

Dr John Kramer of Beach Street Family Practice offers comprehensive assessments for anyone seeking help or support with suspected ADHD. 

Before an appointment with Dr Kramer, you will have a preliminary assessment with another doctor to rule out any potential health problems that might be affecting your child’s learning or behaviour. 

Once this assessment is complete, you will have an appointment with Dr Karmer who will assess your child and may provide a referral to the appropriate specialist. 

Ahead of your appointment with Dr Kramer, we encourage parents or carers to email through as much information ahead of time as possible. This can include your main concerns about your child, school reports, family background information etc. The more information you can provide us, the better. 

If you suspect you or your child may have ADHD, please call Beach Street Family Practice or  book an appointment here

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