Understanding ADHD: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment


E.C | Pharmacist

12/12/20232 min read

woman in white long sleeve shirt and blue skirt standing on rock in front of sea
woman in white long sleeve shirt and blue skirt standing on rock in front of sea

Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD is characterised by a combination of symptoms falling into two main categories: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Not everyone with ADHD exhibits both sets of symptoms, as the disorder manifests in various ways.

  1. Inattention Symptoms:

    • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities

    • Frequent careless mistakes due to lack of attention to detail

    • Forgetfulness in daily activities

    • Easily distracted by unrelated stimuli

    • Difficulty organising tasks and activities

  2. Hyperactivity-Impulsivity Symptoms:

    • Excessive fidgeting or restlessness

    • Inability to stay seated in situations where it is expected

    • Talking excessively

    • Impulsive decision-making, such as acting without thinking

    • Difficulty waiting for one's turn

Diagnosis of ADHD

Diagnosing ADHD involves a comprehensive assessment that considers the individual's medical history, behavioural observations, and reports from parents, teachers, and other relevant sources. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) outlines specific criteria for diagnosing ADHD. These criteria include the presence of symptoms in multiple settings, their impact on daily functioning, and their persistence over time.

It is crucial to rule out other medical or psychological conditions that may mimic ADHD symptoms, such as learning disabilities, anxiety, or depression. The diagnostic process often involves collaboration between healthcare professionals, educators, and parents.

Treatment Options

  1. Behavioural Therapy:

    • Behavioural therapy, including psycho-education and counselling, helps individuals with ADHD develop coping strategies, organisational skills, and improved self-esteem. This approach is particularly beneficial for children.

  2. Medication:

    • Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines, are commonly prescribed to manage ADHD symptoms. Non-stimulant medications like atomoxetine may be recommended, especially for individuals who don't respond well to stimulants.

  3. Educational Support:

    • Educational interventions, such as specialised classroom accommodations and individualised education plans (IEPs), can provide additional support for children with ADHD. These may include extra time on tests, preferential seating, or additional academic assistance.

  4. Lifestyle Modifications:

    • Adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep, can contribute to symptom management.

ADHD is a complex and multifaceted disorder that requires a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. While there is no cure, effective management strategies can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with ADHD. It is essential for healthcare professionals, educators, and families to work collaboratively to provide the necessary support and understanding for those living with ADHD.


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Symptoms and Diagnosis. [https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html]

  3. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2021). Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). [https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd]

  4. Wolraich, M. L., Hagan, J. F., Allan, C., Chan, E., Davison, D., Earls, M., ... & Zurhellen, W. (2019). Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 144(4), e20192528. [https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/144/4/e20192528]

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults, impacting their ability to focus, control impulses, and regulate energy levels. This article aims to shed light on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for ADHD, providing valuable insights into this often misunderstood condition.