top of page
  • padmapalvai

Understanding ADHD: A Guide to Parents and Adults.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the individual’s ability to focus, control impulses, and manage their energy levels. As a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, I understand that ADHD can sometimes be challenging for both children and their families. However, with the right understanding, support, and treatment, children and adults with ADHD can thrive and reach their full potential.

In this post, we will explore what ADHD is, its symptoms, and how it can be managed effectively.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a condition that affects the brain and how it functions. It is characterized by three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Inattention: Individuals with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, getting easily distracted, or frequently making careless mistakes. They may also have trouble organizing tasks and activities and tend to forget things.

Hyperactivity: Individuals and particularly children with ADHD may display high levels of energy, constantly moving and fidgeting. They may have difficulty sitting still, often feel restless, and have trouble engaging in quiet activities.

Impulsivity: Children and adults with ADHD may struggle with self-control and act without thinking. They may interrupt conversations, have difficulty waiting for their turn, and exhibit impulsive behaviors that may be disruptive.

The symptoms of ADHD can change throughout a person's lifespan. In children, the symptoms of hyperactivity are often more noticeable than in adults. As children get older, the symptoms of hyperactivity may lessen, while the symptoms of inattention may become more pronounced.

In adults, the symptoms of ADHD can manifest in different ways, such as difficulty staying organized, managing time, and following through on commitments. Furthermore, in adults, impulsivity may be more emotional and not behavioral. For example, adults with ADHD may be quick to get irritated or angry.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how ADHD changes throughout a person's lifespan. Symptoms of ADHD may become less severe in adulthood for some people, but they may persist for others. Additionally, the symptoms of ADHD may interact with other factors, such as stress, anxiety, and depression, which can make them more or less pronounced.

These core symptoms of ADHD may over time lead to difficulties with academic achievement, poor self-esteem and problems with interpersonal relationships.


If you suspect your child may have ADHD, it is essential to consult a qualified child psychiatrist or healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis. Through a comprehensive evaluation, including interviews, observations, and questionnaires, the healthcare professional can determine if your child meets the criteria for ADHD. For adults, your health care professional may ask for objective testing if you have never been diagnosed before.


Treatment for ADHD typically involves a combination of interventions, including:

Behavioral therapy: This type of therapy helps children learn strategies to manage their behaviors, improve organization skills, and develop coping mechanisms for impulsivity. Parent training is generally a component of behavior therapy of children.

Medication: For some individuals, healthcare professionals may recommend medication to manage ADHD symptoms. These medications can help improve focus, reduce impulsivity, and enhance self-control. It is not uncommon for parents to worry about the potential side effects of medication for their children. Please discuss the medication with your child’s psychiatrist to evaluate the risks and benefits of the medication so you can make an informed decision

Parental support and education: Parents play a crucial role in supporting children with ADHD. Learning about ADHD, attending support groups, and implementing effective parenting strategies can make a significant difference in managing symptoms and promoting positive outcomes.

Tips for Parents:

Establish routines: Creating a consistent daily routine can provide structure and help children with ADHD stay organized. Children with ADHD thrive when there is a predictable routine.

Break tasks into smaller steps: Breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps can make them less overwhelming and increase the chances of completion. When giving verbal instructions, it may be helpful to make sure you have your child’s attention by touching them asking them to make eye contact with you.

Provide clear instructions: Clear and concise instructions can help children with ADHD understand expectations and stay focused on the task at hand. It is often helpful to give younger children instructions one step at a time.

Use visual aids: Visual aids, such as charts, schedules, and reminders, can assist children with ADHD in understanding and following routines.

Encourage physical activity: Regular exercise and physical activity can help channel excess energy and improve focus.

Be patient and understanding: ADHD can be challenging for both children and parents. It is important to be patient and understanding, and to provide your child with the support they need to succeed.


ADHD may present challenges, but with the right understanding, support, and treatment, individual with ADHD can lead fulfilling lives. As a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, my goal is to help children and their families navigate the complexities of ADHD, providing them with the tools and strategies necessary for success. By working together, we can ensure that every child with ADHD has the opportunity to reach their full potential and thrive in all areas of their lives.

Additional Information:

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has a wealth of information about ADHD, including fact sheets, research summaries, and treatment resources.

The CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) website is a great resource for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals.


bottom of page