Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by a lack of concentration, inattentiveness, irritability, and the inability to sit quietly for long periods of time. Individuals who have been diagnosed with the disorder may seem unorganized and unable to set goals or stick to goals they have set for themselves. They may have trouble keeping a job and may not be able to sufficiently manage their time. They may be physically unable to remain seated or on-task for long periods of time. Since the severity of each case is different, the psychologist must evaluate each person individually and treat their condition accordingly.
Evaluation is available to screen for ADHD. Also, psychologists have standards put in place by the American Psychiatric Association that help evaluate clients and make an accurate diagnosis. By evaluating the various symptoms each client exhibits, the psychologist can categorize the client into one of three distinct ADHD categories. These include “Primarily Hyperactive,” “Primarily Interactive” or a “Combined Subtype.” Many clients do not fall into one single category; they exhibit different types of behaviors at different times. By evaluating the symptoms and the times when they occur, psychologists can make an accurate diagnosis and offer their clients an individual treatment plan that addresses their personal needs.
ADHD is often treated with medications that are designed to slow down the thinking processes as well as relax the body. This enables the client to think more clearly and be able to concentrate for longer periods of time without being distracted by the need for constant physical activity. Exercise programs that allow for both physical activity and mental challenges are also considered. Counseling is also offered to both parents and children in an attempt to help them deal with the constant changes that sometimes accompany the behaviors of an ADHD client. Both children and adults are treated in much the same way. It is important to remember that each client will respond to treatment differently and that response may change as the client gets older.