Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADD or ADHD, is the name of a group of behaviors found in millions (4% to 12%) of school-age children and 4.4% of US adults.

Those suffering with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often experience poor school and work performance, poor social relationships, and run an increased risk of mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Those with ADHD generally suffer from overall negative health outcomes compared to the general population, such as increased risk of accidents and visits to hospital emergency rooms.

It is a chronic condition that often continues into adulthood.

The condition is diagnosed by the criteria listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM) used by mental health professionals. The DSM categorizes ADHD symptoms into three types or groups: inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type, or combined.

ADHD Symptoms

Inattentive Type

Symptoms of inattention include difficulty following instructions, difficulty maintaining attention on work or play activities, and frequently losing things. In addition, common traits of ADHD also include not paying attention to details, appearing not to listen, difficulty tasks that require planning ahead, forgetting things, and being easily distracted. Additional symptoms of inattention include problems organizing tasks and activities, failing to finish schoolwork or chores, repeating reminding child of responsibilities, and avoiding tasks that require mental focus and mental effort.

Hyperactive Type

In perhaps what is ADHD's most defining symptom, symptoms of hyperactivity include fidgeting, squirming, running or climbing excessively or inappropriately, difficulty playing quietly, inability to remain seated, talking too much, always on the go, and displaying trouble waiting his or her turn. Other symptoms include often leaving his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations when remaining seated is expected, constantly feeling restless, and talking excessively.

Impulsive Type

Impulsive symptoms include blurting out answers to questions, frequently has difficulty waiting for his or her turn, often interrupts or intrudes on others' conversations or games, and engaging in risky behavior.

Recommended Treatment For Children

No Attention Deficit Disorder definition would be complete without mentioning the best treatment options for children, teens, and adults. 

I'd like to highlight what is, in my clinical opinion, the gold standard of ADHD treatment programs. The ADHD Breakthrough: Overcoming ADHD program for parents of ADHD children is an easy-to-use guide that parents and caregivers can use in the comfort of their own home to manage and eliminate difficult behaviors. I have used it with great success with my own son.

It teaches parents everything about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, how their children with ADHD view the world, and how to enable children with ADHD to thrive despite their challenges. 

Recommended Treatment For Adults

Ready to be inspired? The How To Conquer ADHD Program was developed by an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who was able to overcome the challenges of the disorder and become highly successful.

In this guide, he details and documents the methods he uses to get organized, to manage a job, to manage money and other finances, how to navigate romantic relationships, friendships, raise children while suffering from ADHD, manage a household, and more.

He not only teaches readers how to overcome the common challenges of living with ADD/ADHD, but how to appreciate the unique gifts of the condition.

Other Treatment Options And Important ADHD Information

Be sure to check out my review of all of the popular ADHD medications, ADHD behavior modification, ADHD diet, neurofeedback for ADHD, and ADD natural remedies. Also, check out these helpful guides to learn how to calm hyperactive children and how to create a calm home for children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

ADHD In Boys Versus Girls

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects boys at three times the rate of girls, but it may be underdiagnosed in girls.

Also, ADHD typically manifests differently in boys than girls. Boys are more likely to be hyperactive, whereas girls tend to be inattentive.

Girls who have trouble paying attention often daydream, but inattentive boys are more likely to play or fiddle aimlessly.

Boys tend to be less compliant with teachers and other adults, so their behavior is often more conspicuous (Johns Hopkins, 2006).

ADHD Statistics

According to the Centers For Disease Control (2006):

*Parents report that children with a history of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are almost 10 times as likely to have difficulties that interfere with friendships (20.6% vs. 2.0%).

*Children with ADHD were more likely to have major injuries, hospital inpatient visits, hospital outpatient visits, and emergency department admissions.

*Young people with high levels of attentional difficulties are at greater risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash, drinking and driving, and traffic violations.

*What is ADHD's overall cost to society? It is estimated to be between $36 and $52 billion, in 2005 dollars.

*What is ADHD's affect on work productivity? Across 10 countries, it was projected that ADHD was associated with 143.8 million lost days of productivity each year. Most of this loss can be attributed to ADHD and not co-occurring conditions.

Causes Of ADHD

What is ADHD's etiology? While the exact causes of ADHD remain a mystery, researchers have identified several factors that may play a role.


Studies show that ADHD tends to run in families. About one in four children with ADHD have at least one relative with the disorder (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007). In addition, recent studies of twins link genes with the onset of ADHD.

Maternal Exposure To Toxins: Smoking, Drug Use and Other Toxins

Pregnant women who smoke are at increased risk of having children with ADHD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008.) In addition, alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy may reduce activity of the neurons that produce neurotransmitters.

Also, pregnant women who are or were exposed to environmental poisons such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may be more likely to have children with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (PCBs are industrial chemicals that were widely used up until the 1970s.)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder And Environmental Toxins

Preschool children exposed to environmental hazards and toxins are at increased risk of developmental and behavioral problems. Exposure to lead, which is found mainly in paint and pipes in older buildings, has been linked to disruptive behavior, violent behavior, and shortened attention spans.

In addition, exposure to PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in infancy may also increase a child's risk of developing ADHD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008.)

What Does Not Cause ADHD Research does not support popularly held myths that ADHD is caused by consuming too much sugar, watching too much television, poor parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family upheaval.

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