The term “ADS” refers to the so-called attention deficit syndrome, a subtype of ADHD. It manifests itself differently from the typical ADHD, but has the same origin. It is also known as “ADHD of the predominantly inattentive type”, in which the focus is not on the typical hyperactivity and impulsiveness, but on the concentration and attention deficits. However, these show up more as mental absence and social restraint, and are therefore less conspicuous than in the hyperactive type. Often this form of ADHD persists into adulthood.
The exact cause of ADS is still unclear. Risk factors, associated genes and other triggers for ADHD are well known, but why they cause symptoms in some people and not in others seems to depend on other yet unknown factors. It is also not yet clear why some people develop a quiet inattentive type and others an impulsive hyperactive type.
According to current scientific knowledge, ADHD and its subtypes are so-called multifactorial diseases. This means that several factors are involved in the development of the disease. Primarily genetic predisposition, but also the social environment and other external influences play a role.
ADS/ADHS can therefore be inherited, but does not have to be. Symptoms are often found in several members of a family. However, there is no “ADHD gene”, rather the interaction of different genetic variations in connection with the environment causes the very variable symptomatology.
Factors such as upbringing, development, social contacts and many others influence the disease. Some patients also show structural changes in the brain. Those affected appear to be restricted in signal transmission via messenger substances in various areas of the brain. However, these processes have not yet been clearly clarified and are not equally pronounced in every patient.
Diagnosis in adults
The diagnosis is made clinically, i.e. based on symptoms. As these are often less obvious in the ADHD subtype and can easily be confused with, for example, depression, the diagnosis is often made late or not at all. There are no laboratory tests or similar.
If the disease is suspected, the diagnosis is made after assessment by an experienced doctor. In an extensive conversation with the patient, he or she will ask specific questions about the core symptoms, typical behavioral patterns and more. Various personality and behavioral tests are also available to confirm the suspicion and determine the extent of the disease.
In order to be able to make a diagnosis of ADHD, there are many (self-)tests, including those designed by the WHO (World Health Organisation), which are based on the leading symptoms of general ADHD. These questionnaires can sometimes also detect hidden or compensated symptoms in adults. However, especially patients of the ADHD subtype without hyperactivity and impulsiveness fall through the ranks even with such tests, which is why confirmation by an experienced physician after extensive examination is absolutely necessary.