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Attention-Deficit Disorder

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder that is characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with everyday life and development. ADHD is commonly diagnosed during childhood. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that about 5% of children in the United States have ADHD. Contrary to popular belief however, ADHD symptoms can continue or develop in adulthood. The symptoms of ADHD can not only hinder learning during childhood but equally impair an adult’s ability to function in everyday life.


Before 1994, Attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were considered two separate conditions. Now, doctors use the term ADHD to refer to all forms of attention-deficit disorder.

There are three subtypes of ADHD: 

  1. Impulsive/hyperactive type

  2. Inattentive and distractible type

  3. Combined type


The most commonly known ADHD symptoms are inattentiveness (the inability to focus and stay on task), hyperactivity and impulsiveness. The symptoms of primarily inattentive ADHD include:

  • Being easily distracted

  • Not following directions

  • Difficulty finishing tasks

  • Difficulty listening

  • Difficulty paying attention

  • Making careless mistakes

  • Forgetting about daily activities

  • Difficulty organizing daily tasks

  • Often losing things

The symptoms of ADHD, primarily hyperactive-impulsive include:

  • Frequent squirming, fidgeting, or bouncing when sitting

  • Inability to stay seated

  • Difficulty being quiet

  • Restlessness

  • Talking excessively

  • Impatience

  • Interrupting others

In children, these symptoms are often easily identifiable, causing them to blurt out answers during class, have difficulty waiting their turn, and fidget in a classroom setting

ADHD in Adults

In adults, ADHD presents itself in several different ways. Some of these are similar to those exhibited in children, while others vary significantly. These symptoms include:

⦁ Tendency to run late
⦁ Forgetfulness
⦁ Anxiety
⦁ Low self-esteem
⦁ Anger management issues
⦁ Impulsiveness
⦁ Disorganization
⦁ Procrastination
⦁ Becoming easily frustrated
⦁ Always feeling bored
⦁ Difficulty concentrating when reading
⦁ Mood swings
⦁ Depression

These symptoms can contribute to struggles with personal relationships, problems at work, and an increased risk for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse issues.


While scientists are unsure of the exact cause of ADHD, they know that the area of the brain that affects attention is less active in people with ADHD. Some studies have also shown that poor nutrition, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse during pregnancy can affect a baby’s brain development and possibly lead to ADHD. ADHD often occurs in families, indicating that there is likely a genetic component as well. ADHD is more common in males, and most females with ADHD tend to be primarily inattentive rather than hyperactive-impulsive.

ADHD Treatment Options

ADHD is most treated with medication, psychotherapy, coaching, or a combination of the three. The most common type of medication for ADHD is stimulants. Stimulants often help people with ADHD stay focused and on task by increasing brain activity in the area of the brain associated with attentiveness. Common stimulant ADHD medications include:

⦁ Methylphenidates, such as Ritalin.
⦁ Amphetamines, such as Adzenys or Dyanavel.
⦁ Mixed amphetamine salts, such as Adderall.
⦁ Non-stimulants, such as Strattera.

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