When you have to work, it’s hard to sit still and focus. Your hands and feet have a life of their own, moving or tapping just to find something to do. When you’re talking with other people, you keep catching yourself interrupting or cutting in, or talking out of turn. Waiting in line seems likes it takes an eternity. You just want to keep moving – the energy feels like it’s coming from within.
Although everyone has a hard time holding still sometimes, but for people with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type ADHD (ADHD-HI), their symptoms cause problems in their everyday life. A study in JAMA Pediatrics found that two percent of people surveyed had ADHD-HI, out of a total of 8.7 percent with any type of ADHD.
Symptoms of Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD
Although the exact symptoms will vary from person to person, children and adults with ADHD-HI may show:
- Lack of patience
- Feelings of restless energy when trying to sit still
- Fidgeting with hands or feet while sitting
- Difficulty staying seated
- Engaging in physical tasks with too much force or being too loud
- Talking more than is appropriate or intended
- Interrupting others, especially to answer a question that hasn’t yet been completed
- Intruding upon the time or space of others
- Difficulty taking turns or waiting for things
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type ADHD and the Brain
Many of the symptoms seen in ADHD are linked to delayed maturity in its executive centers, which are responsible for organization, planning, paying attention and self-control. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the brains of people with ADHD mature in a normal pattern but an average of three years late. For many children, time is the cure – a study in Pediatrics found that over 70 percent of children with ADHD were ADHD-free as adults.
ADHD-HI differs from predominantly inattentive type ADHD, in which people have difficulty focusing or paying attention. Brain wave scans discussed in Biological Psychiatry have found that the two diagnoses have distinct profiles. People with ADHD-HI showed disruptions to brain wave patterns associated with the output of physical movement, while people with predominantly inattentive type ADHD showed disruptions in patterns related to the processing of sensory input.
According to research in JAMA, both types of ADHD are also related to abnormalities in the dopamine system of the brain, which is involved in attention, motivation, focus, curiosity, reward and learning. This may be why for many people with ADHD, stimulant medications like Ritalin or Adderall that act on dopamine can be helpful. An article in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment noted that medication relieves ADHD symptoms in 70 to 80 percent of children and adults.
Medication is most effective when combined with psychotherapy such as behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy teaches people how to observe, monitor and control their behavior. It also teaches how to praise or reward oneself for acting in a desired way, such as thinking before speaking. Therapy can be particularly helpful when the whole family gets involved, offering positive and negative feedback for wanted and unwanted behaviors.
We know how difficult it can be to bring yourself to get help for a mental health condition, but you’ve already taken the first step. At Black Bear Lodge, our treatment team is ready to design a specialized treatment plan for you or your loved one. Call us today to find out more.