ADHD & mental health

ADHD & mental health

ADHD & mental health 2000 1333 Team Mindsum

This is the second section and covers:

– The symptoms of ADHD

– Treating ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD usually start before the age of 12 years. These symptoms cause problems in different situations, such as the school and at home. The child or young person will experience issues with making friends, performing well in school and completing tasks by themselves. Based on the type of ADHD, there are different symptoms that you may notice:

 The inattentive type symptoms can include:

  • Failing to pay attention

  • Careless mistakes

  • Difficulty to maintain concentration while doing tasks

  • The mind seems to be elsewhere during conversations

  • Can rarely follow instructions and finish tasks

  • Difficulty with organizing tasks

  • Dislikes tasks that need mental effort

  • Often forgets their belongings

 The hyperactive and impulsive type symptoms can include:

  • Constant fidgeting

  • Leaving seat when remaining still is required (e.g. at school)

  • Running around and climbing in situations where it is not appropriate (e.g. during class time)

  • Difficulty to stay calm and quiet during activities

  • Always on the go and can be difficult to keep up with

  • Talks a lot

  • Blurting out an answer before someone finishes the question

  • Has a hard time waiting for their turn

  • Often interrupts others

Other problems related to ADHD

Sometimes the child or young person can suffer from other conditions, as well as ADHD. This can include anxiety disorders, conduct disorders, depression, sleep problems, autism spectrum disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy and learning difficulties.

Case study

“ Sophia is a 10-year-old girl. Since starting school Sophia has found it really hard to pay attention in class. The teachers report that Sophia’s mind always seems to be elsewhere. She feels embarrassed every time it is her turn to read in class, but she just can’t seem to focus long enough to do it. Her mother realizes that Sophia forgets things quite a lot and misplaces her belongings. Sophia has started to feel sad and irritable on most days. She finds it hard to keep friends, as it is really difficult for her to keep up. Sophia’s parents decided that it was time to speak to a mental health expert for some support.”

Treating ADHD

Recognising the signs of ADHD early on and seeking treatment can be helpful in preventing long-term problems. With treatment, the child or young person can manage the disorder and have a better chance of living a better life. Treatment can include the following:

Parent training/educational programmes

This programme helps to support parents/carers in learning new skills that will help the child succeed at home and at school. This can include communication skills, positive reinforcement skills, effective discipline and assignment of specific activities for the parent/carer and child.


Therapy will help support your child with managing difficult feelings and emotions that usually comes when coping with ADHD. This therapy can include Cognitive behavioural therapy and social skills training. This will help your child in learning social skills, problem-solving skills, listening skills and self-control.


A specialist can prescribe medication to treat ADHD, but the treatment that also includes therapy is usually best. Within the UK, there are 5 types of medication that are licensed for treating ADHD. This includes:

  • Methylphenidate

  • Dexamfetamine

  • Lisdexamfetamine

  • Atomoxetine

  • Guafacine

Medication is not a cure for ADHD, but it can help your child to feel calmer and more able to concentrate in their everyday life.

Lifestyle changes

It is advisable for children and young people with ADHD to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Exercise may also help your child to sleep better at night, which makes the symptoms less severe the following day. Having an early bedtime will also help your child get enough sleep. It is important to organize your child’s daily activities. This can be done using timetables, checklists and a consistent routine. An organized routine will be helpful for your child to complete tasks, to remember things and to be more successful in coping with everyday life.

What’s it like to have ADHD?

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