Updated 1/1/2023

What Is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in children and adults. It is characterized by difficulty paying attention or staying focused for long periods of time, impulsivity, such as acting without thinking or interrupting others, and hyperactivity, such as fidgeting or difficulty sitting still.

Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD can vary from person to person, but generally include:

  • Difficulty paying attention or staying focused for long periods of time
  • Impulsivity, such as acting without thinking or interrupting others
  • Hyperactivity, such as fidgeting or difficulty sitting still
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty following through on instructions
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty with time management and meeting deadlines

It’s important to note that these symptoms need to be persistent and impact daily functioning in multiple settings (e.g. school, work, home) to be considered ADHD.

Causes of ADHD

The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but research suggests that it may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies have shown that ADHD tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Environmental factors such as alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature birth, and low birth weight may also increase the risk of developing ADHD.

Treatment of ADHD

Treatment for ADHD typically includes a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

Medication: Stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are commonly used to treat ADHD. These medications work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, which can improve focus and attention.

Therapy: Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and parent training, can help individuals with ADHD learn strategies to manage their symptoms.

Lifestyle changes: Simple lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep can also help improve symptoms of ADHD.

In addition, education and support for the family and teachers can be very helpful for the individual with ADHD.

It’s important to work with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, to determine the best course of treatment for ADHD. With proper treatment and support, individuals with ADHD can lead successful and fulfilling lives.

In conclusion, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity in children and adults. It is important to recognize the symptoms, understand the causes, and seek appropriate treatment for managing the disorder. With a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, individuals with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead successful lives.

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