Differences in the symptomatology of adults and children
Attention deficit exists since childhood and remains untreated up to 60% depending on the study. However, how the ADHD manifests itself and how the patient deals with it changes over the years. Children stand out mainly because of problems at school.
They find it difficult to learn, grades are poor and friendships are sparse. Making a diagnosis in childhood is usually easier than later in life, because adults often show compensatory strategies. They have internalised failures and avoid tasks that overburden them.
Therefore, the typical symptoms are not always found with them, as they avoid situations in which they occur. Some of them also manage to compensate for their weaknesses, for example by choosing a suitable profession that promotes their talents. In contrast to children, adults therefore show less of the typical symptoms, but still suffer from fear of failure and the like. ADHD can mask itself in adults, for example as depression, panic disorder or burnout. It is therefore important to detect ADHD as early as possible to avoid these psychological side effects.
Tests for diagnostic confirmation of ADS
Whether the observed abnormalities are ADS can ultimately only be decided by the doctor. The symptoms in this constellation are not proof of ADS, but occur in other diseases as well. The physician must exclude these, i.e. thoroughly examine the patient physically and create a psychological profile.
Initial findings in the case of suspected ADHD are provided by self-tests, which are offered by various more or less reputable bodies in different qualities. Those affected should therefore contact official providers, e.g. the WHO (World Health Organisation), and have the results confirmed or disproved by a doctor. The doctor will review the patient’s medical history, carry out further tests, e.g. of behaviour, and interview the patient’s environment. He also involves other specialists, as ADHD can be much more complex in adults than in children. Depending on the patient and the severity of the symptoms, a team of different specialists, psychologists or psychotherapists and others is therefore necessary for diagnosis and therapy.
Differentiation of the symptoms of ADHS and ADS
The main conspicuous features of ADHD are psychological and social problems, in ADHD it is hyperactivity and impulsiveness. However, the clinical pictures can be similar in many respects, for example with regard to performance at school and at work or problems in the social environment. Therefore, the ADHD types cannot always be clearly separated from each other.
While typical ADHD patients show mainly physically conspicuous symptoms in addition to attention problems, ADHD patients show more psychological problems and behavioural disorders. In children, these different manifestations are even more obvious. The development of compensation strategies after years of symptoms makes it much more difficult to differentiate the subtype in adults.
Nevertheless, the differentiation between the hyper- and hypoactive forms is important in order to be able to treat them correctly. Although both are treated with the same medication (medication for ADHD), the other therapy options, especially psycho- and behavioural therapy for ADHD, differ greatly from the therapy forms of ADHD. An experienced physician can usually separate ADHD from other types of ADHD in adults after a thorough review of the medical history.