What is ADHD?

What is adhd

The symptoms of ADHD are present before age 12 and can be hard to recognize. They can be mild or severe and can affect school, home life, and relationships.

Inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsivity

The main symptoms of ADHD are trouble paying attention, being easily distracted, and being overly active. People with ADHD often have problems focusing on tasks and activities they don’t like or aren’t interested in. They can also have trouble controlling their emotions and responding to others in the right way.


Some kids who have ADHD take medicine to help them stay focused and control their behavior. The most common type of medication is a stimulant, which boosts brain chemicals that are necessary for thinking and concentration. These medications are available over the counter, at most pharmacies, and are safe when taken as directed.

Medication can also help adults who have been diagnosed with ADHD to focus on their work or school and get organized in other ways. They can improve their performance, get along better with others, and have more self-esteem.

Family issues

When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, parents and other members of the family can have a lot of feelings, including frustration, anger, and blame. These feelings can make it hard for them to work together to find a solution. Mental health professionals can educate them about their child’s condition and give them tools to deal with the disorder, regaining their trust in each other.

They can learn to accept and respect the child’s differences and understand that ADHD does not mean they are a bad person or that their child is weak. They can also learn how to be supportive and encouraging as their child struggles with their diagnosis.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition Text Revision (DSM-5-TR) provides criteria providers use to diagnose ADHD. They are based on how many symptoms are present and how long they have been present.

Doctors diagnose ADHD after observing the child’s behavior and discussing the situation with the child, parents, teachers, and other healthcare providers. Then, doctors can identify the types of symptoms that are present, the severity of the symptoms, and what treatments may be helpful.

Symptoms that are not addressed and treated can have serious consequences, including school failure, family stress and disruption, depression, substance abuse, delinquency, accidents, and job loss. Getting a diagnosis and treatment for a child’s symptoms can be life-saving, and early identification and intervention are key.

Adults and Children

ADHD is common in both children and adults. In fact, about six million people are diagnosed with ADHD every year in the United States. The disorder is more common in boys than girls, and it can continue into adulthood.

How does it affect me?

If you are an adult with ADHD, it can be hard to understand why you have been struggling with your symptoms for so long. The problem can be that you have been avoiding seeking treatment because you are embarrassed about it or think it is your fault for not being able to control your behavior. But the reality is that you have been struggling with it all your life because of a genetic predisposition to it.

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