ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder
The diagnosis of ADD is not based upon the presence of the main symptoms of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. In fact, most people do experience these traits at times. Diagnosis is based upon the intensity and duration of the symptoms and the extent to which they interfere in everyday life. Importantly, the DSM-IV qualifies that the ADD symptoms must be met for the last six months and must be present by seven years of age. It also states that some impairment from symptoms must be present in two or more settings (e.g. School, work, home). Problems with the DSM-IV criteria include its inappropriateness to all ages. In that regard, more items are needed that relate to the adult stage of the disorder.
The following screening tool is an example of a more complete listing of possible symptoms and behaviors that relate more specifically to the adult individual. In reviewing these six ADD types, it is helpful to recognize that client presentation is often a blending of the criteria from the different types.
This is the most familiar type of ADD and is usually evident early in life. In infancy they may present as colicky, very active and difficult to sooth. In childhood, they are restless, physically active, noisy, talkative and demanding and rely on excitement. In adulthood, they often have low self esteem related to the hyperactivity, conflict-driven behavior and impulsivity which results in frequent conflict with others.
The main presenting symptoms include:
• difficulty sustaining attention for task completion
• poor listening skills
• poor time management
• loses items
• poor attention to detail (careless mistakes)
• restless or hyperactive
• fidgety (trouble sitting still)
• noisy (difficulty being quiet)
• acts as if “driven by a motor”
• talks excessively
• impulsivity (making comments)
• difficulty waiting their turn
• interrupts others (e.g. Conversations or games)