What Is ADHD?

what is adhd

ADHD is a common childhood disorder that affects about 4.2% of children and adolescents. It can also affect adults, especially when co-occurring with other disorders like depression or anxiety.


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that can cause problems with attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. It affects more than a million Americans and often lasts into adulthood.

Inattentive type of ADHD is the most common form of the disorder and is characterized by difficulty paying attention or staying focused. It can make it difficult to complete work tasks, remember important information, keep up with a schedule or take care of your daily responsibilities.

People with this kind of ADHD are more likely to get distracted by things that aren’t directly related to the task at hand, such as their own thoughts or feelings. They may find it hard to pay attention to their surroundings and ignore or avoid people and situations that might be distracting.

They might fidget with their hands or feet, squirm in their seat or run around or climb when they shouldn’t be. They might blurt out answers to questions or interrupt others’ conversations and games. They might not wait their turn in line or use other people’s toys or clothes without permission.

Hyperactive/impulsive type of ADHD is characterized by behavior that’s out of the ordinary for a child’s age. This kind of ADHD can make it difficult for a person to play quietly, engage in leisure activities or wait his or her turn.

According to the DSM-5-TR, a child needs six or more of the following symptoms to meet the criteria for this type of ADHD: runs about or climbs where it’s inappropriate; has trouble remaining still in class or other situations; blurts out answers before the question is finished; stutters or speaks quickly when talking; or acts in ways that disrupt social relationships.

Doctors make a diagnosis of ADHD after they’ve gathered a lot of information about your child’s health, behaviors and activities. They may ask you and your child to complete a checklist that helps them pinpoint what’s making it hard for your child to pay attention, concentrate or act normally.

It can be challenging to diagnose ADHD in adolescent children and adolescents because many other conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can cause similar or even more severe symptoms than those of ADHD. In some cases, medications can help relieve the ADHD-like symptoms in these children and adolescents.

There are several types of medications that can be used to treat ADHD, including stimulants and non-stimulants. Stimulants work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain. They are sometimes combined with other drugs to improve their effects.

Medication can also be used to treat the underlying problem that causes the ADHD. This might be a medical condition, such as thyroid problems or neurological disorders, or a psychological disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

Getting the right treatment for ADHD can reduce symptoms and make it easier for adults to live with their condition. They can also enjoy a better quality of life, get along better with their family and friends and work more effectively at home, school or in their job. They can also manage their stress and sleep better, and prevent and overcome substance abuse and other negative behaviors.

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