What is ADHD?

what is adhd

What is adhd?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health condition that affects about one in five children. It causes problems with concentration and focus and is characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity.

ADHD is a lifelong condition that can be treated with medication and behavioral therapy. The goal of treatment is to help the person with ADHD manage symptoms and maximize their opportunities in school, work, and life.


Doctors diagnose ADHD by looking at how well a person does in school, work, and at home. They also look at how their behavior affects others, including family members. They may refer you to a child psychologist or psychiatrist if they think there is another health problem that is causing the symptoms of ADHD.

Your doctor may do a physical exam, listen to your child’s story, and take a detailed medical history. They might also order blood tests, imaging studies, and a psychological evaluation.

The results of the evaluation help doctors decide whether or not you have ADHD and which type of medication to prescribe. The most commonly used medications for ADHD are stimulants, which increase the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.

Other types of medications, known as non-stimulants, can also help with focus and attention. They can be prescribed when a person has problems with side effects from a stimulant, when the medication hasn’t been effective, or in combination to increase effectiveness.

Adult-onset ADHD

In most cases, a diagnosis of adult-onset ADHD is made after the individual’s parents or other close family members report symptoms that are similar to those of an ADHD child. A comprehensive evaluation typically involves a review of past and current symptoms, a medical exam and history, and use of adult rating scales or checklists.


Some children with ADHD can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a therapist helps the patient think through his or her actions and improves focus and attention. The therapist also helps the patient recognize and cope with feelings like anger and frustration.


A person with ADHD may feel alone, especially when family members and friends don’t understand what the disorder is all about. A therapist can help the person with ADHD and his or her family members develop new skills and ways of interacting to minimize negative emotions.


Stimulant medications can help with focus and attention, reduce impulsivity, and reduce irritability and hyperactivity. These medications are generally safe and can improve a person’s daily life. However, they can have some serious side effects and are only available under a doctor’s supervision.

Other medication options include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics. Those medications can also be helpful with attention and concentration, but have more severe side effects. They also aren’t as safe as stimulants, so a doctor should be consulted before a person takes them.

Diet and nutrition

Meal plans, a healthy diet, and other dietary changes can also be helpful for people with ADHD. A balanced diet, with a variety of foods, has been shown to improve a person’s mood and reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD.

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