Attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in childhood, affecting 8 to 11% of school-age children on average. The main symptoms include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Although many people occasionally have difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behaviours, these symptoms are so persistent in patients suffering from ADHD that they negatively affect their daily functioning.
The symptoms can affect cognitive, academic, behavioural, emotional, and social functioning. Generally speaking, symptoms appear before the age of 7 and cause significant functional problems both at home and at school, or in different social situations. One to two thirds of children with ADHD continue to show significant symptoms as adults.
The diagnosis is sometimes difficult to make due to the blurred boundaries with other behaviours that are not necessarily pathological, such as a lack of supervision at home or reactions to an unfavourable environment. ADHD must also be distinguished from other childhood pathologies such as oppositionism, for example.
ADHD could be associated with other behavioural or learning disorders. A complete neuropsychological assessment generally allows us to highlight the various associated disorders or deficits.
Early treatment is the key for significant improvement, thus reducing complications and allowing for better social adjustment and good scholastic or professional performance. The family environment thereby also becomes more relaxed, as does the social and professional environment.
Symptoms in adult
As an adult, the main symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity express themselves differently. Adults with ADHD lead a rather chaotic life, but they are less physically hyperactive than during childhood. Stillness generates internal tension and anxiety. They often seek out thrills (for example, extreme sports, speed, drugs, or gambling). They may have poor concentration, difficulty staying organized day to day or long term, difficulty finishing tasks, mood swings, an angry and impulsive personality (quick-tempered, making rash decisions), low self-esteem, difficulty managing stress, difficulty dealing with frustration, or low stability, both in at home and at work.
Once the diagnosis has been made, a personalized action plan is proposed that may include :
Generally speaking, medication is most effective over the short to medium term, but once stopped, all the symptoms quickly reappear. It’s not a cure, only palliative. Medication can also be accompanied by sometimes significant side effects. Psychotherapy produces slower and less spectacular results than those caused by medication, but the benefits obtained are lasting and it has no side effects.
Other alternative treatments exist. Of these treatments, neurofeedback seems the most promising. The latter is controversial in the scientific community. The American Psychological Association considers it very effective with the highest level of scientific evidence; the American Pediatric Association is of the same opinion. However, in Canada and even in the United States, the psychiatric associations consider that the available data on neurofeedback doesn’t yet allow them to make a therapeutic recommendation for ADHD.
At Psysol, we’ve designed a program specifically for ADHD that’s simple and integrative. All the patients who are referred to us are assessed by the psychiatrist, either alone or with their family members present. After this assessment, the psychiatrist makes a diagnosis and makes recommendations to the referring doctor, generally after the first or second meeting. He may also request exams, tests, and supplementary assessments by other professionals (neuropsychologists, neurologists, speech therapists or others) to complement the assessment if necessary. He may also ensure follow-up in complicated cases until the patient’s condition is sufficiently stabilized, and then leave the follow-up to the family doctor.
We offer simple, inexpensive, and valid tests to aid in diagnosis, and we offer medical treatments, psychotherapy, and neurofeedback training in certain cases.