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In recent years, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been researched intensively. While ADHD is a relatively common neurodevelopmental condition that generally begins in childhood, with symptoms presenting before 12 years of age, not many people know about the three types of ADHD. One type is hyperactive/impulsive, another is inattentive, and the third combines hyperactive/impulsive and inattentive ADHD features.

Many people are familiar with the common signs and symptoms of ADHD in children, such as excessive fidgeting and inability to sit still, interrupting others and failing to wait their turn, or engaging in activities loud and disruptively.

Other, less obvious signs might include forgetfulness, difficulty commencing or finishing tasks, problems forming and maintaining relationships, or daydreaming.

These symptoms are often more common in girls than boys and were previously sometimes overlooked. Consequently, researchers believe that in the past, girls were underdiagnosed.

Aside from this, there are common misconceptions that ADHD only affects children. However, ADHD is typically a lifelong disorder that impacts individuals throughout their lifespan.

Signs of ADHD in adults include procrastination, difficulty with planning and organising, forgetfulness and misplacing personal items, reduced motivation and fatigue. Other problems can be impulsivity, difficulty with social interaction, and substance use.

Interestingly, most people with ADHD will have at least one other psychiatric disorder. Some of those conditions include Dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Considering the complexity of ADHD, it is important to screen individuals for a full range of psychological disorders as part of the assessment process. Psychiatrists and paediatricians can play a key role in assessing and diagnosing ADHD. Psychologists can also provide valuable information by administering psychometric and behavioural assessments.

While a diagnosis can feel uncomfortable, there is good news to keep in mind. With appropriate treatment and intervention, ADHD is manageable. A supportive management plan can lessen a disorder’s impact on people’s lives and help achieve behavioural and life goals.

If you feel that you or a family member might have ADHD, speak to your family doctor about arranging an assessment. The team at Cairns Psychological Assessment performs Cognitive and Psychological Assessments of the highest quality and is here to support you on your journey.