October 2021 is ADHD awareness month to give people the chance to discover new perspectives in managing and treating symptoms. Typically, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is diagnosed in childhood. But many adults may not know that they are also battling the signs and symptoms of ADHD.

More so, many are not aware that pets can also develop behavioral problems that are similar to ADHD in people. Researchers claim that a dog's breed, age, and how much attention they get from their owners play a significant role in whether they would develop the condition or not.

ADHD Awareness Month: Dogs, Like Humans, Can Have It Too; Here Are Some Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Brain of a child with ADHD with overall reduced volume and a proportional reduction in the left-sided prefrontal cortex.

ADHD Signs and Symptoms in Adults

 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed in childhood. However, many adults are unaware that the symptoms they are battling were also symptoms of a person with ADHD, such as difficulty in paying attention, impulsive actions, and inability to complete tasks.

But not all the three mentioned symptoms are observable in adults. Expert ADHD Coaching founder and president Shanna Pearson said that some of the most obvious signs are not as popular and one of which is getting overwhelmed extremely easily.

When Newswatch 12 asked her whether she thinks the pandemic helped people discover they have ADH, she said that perhaps in a way, these people had a lot of time reflecting on themselves during the lockdowns.

The American Psychiatric Association said that an estimated 2.5% of adults have ADHD. Adults undergo a comprehensive evaluation that includes past and current symptoms, medical exam and history, and adult rating scales. Most often they are treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

Mental health professionals, particularly psychiatrists and psychologists use the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5 (DSM 5) in identifying symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults before they make a diagnosis.

ALSO READ: Computational Models Could Help Diagnose Children with ADHD

ADHD in Dogs

University of Helinski researchers reported that ADHD is not just something that only affects humans. Even pets, such as dogs, can also experience behavior that is similar to ADHD in humans. The team said that the dog's age, gender, breed, and how much attention their owner gives them play a significant role in their chances of developing the behavioral disorder.

Professor Hannes Lohi, head of a canine gene research group at Helsinki, said in the university's press release that their findings could help better identify, understand and develop a treatment plan for canine hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.

The team said that since dogs share many similarities in humans, like physiological traits, and environment, this makes them an interesting model in investigating ADHD in humans.

Furthermore, they noted that the owner's behavior influences their dog's behavior. Dogs who do not get enough attention, stay at home alone most of the time, and do not get enough exercise usually show more behavioral changes. They tend to be hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive since they get frustrated and stressed when they are alone.

 Unfortunately, ADHD in dogs can also develop into other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), like in humans. They present in behaviors like tail chasing, continuous licking of themselves and surfaces, and staring at nothing.

They published the findings of their study, titled "Canine Hyperactivity, Impulsivity, and Inattention Share Similar Demographic Risk Factors and Behavioural Comorbidities With Human ADHD," in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

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