Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in young people. An estimated 8.8% of children aged 4-17 have ADHD. While ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, it does not only affect children. An estimated 4.4% of adults aged 18-44 have ADHD.

Get a Quick Glimpse

What Is It?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition in which characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

The Science Behind It

ADHD is associated with abnormally low levels of the neurotransmitters transmitting between the two parts of the brain, the prefrontal cortical area and the basal ganglia (i.e. dopamine and noradrenaline). Dopamine is closely associated with reward centers in the brain, and also interacts with other potent neurotransmitters to regulate mood.

Warning Signs

While some behaviors associated with ADHD are "normal" and not a cause for concern to most people, someone with ADHD will have trouble controlling these behaviors and will show them much more frequently and for longer than 6 months.

Signs of inattention include:

  • Becoming easily distracted, and jumping from activity to activity.
  • Becoming bored with a task quickly.
  • Difficulty focusing attention or completing a single task or activity.
  • Trouble completing or turning in homework assignments.
  • Losing things such as school supplies or toys.
  • Not listening or paying attention when spoken to.
  • Daydreaming or wandering with lack of motivation.
  • Difficulty processing information quickly.
  • Struggling to follow directions.

Signs of hyperactivity include:

  • Fidgeting and squirming, having trouble sitting still.
  • Non-stop talking.
  • Touching or playing with everything.
  • Difficulty doing quiet tasks or activities.

Signs of impulsivity include:

  • Impatience.
  • Acting without regard for consequences, blurting things out.
  • Difficulty taking turns, waiting or sharing.Interrupting others.

Common Misconceptions

My preschooler is too young to have ADHD

ADHD can occur as early as preschool years

They're just lazy and unmotivated

A child who finds it nearly impossible to stay focused in class, or to complete a lengthy task such as writing a long essay, may try to save face by acting as though he does not want to do it or is too lazy to finish. This behavior may look like laziness or lack of motivation, but it stems from real difficulty in functioning.

Treatments

ADHD is managed and treated in several ways:

  • Medications, including stimulants, nonstimulants and antidepressants
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Self-management, education programs and assistance through schools or work or alternative treatment approaches

Go Deeper

Sourced from

Medical Disclaimer: Brain Health Bootcamp aims to promote education and awareness of mental health conditions among adolescents, families, and educators. We publish material that is researched, cited, and drawn from sources reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.