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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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What is attention deficient hyperactivity disorder?

Attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that causes differences in a group of brain operations known as executive functioning skills.

Expanded overview

ADHD is a neurological disorder, meaning that it starts in the brain. The disorder causes differences with a set of brain operations known as “executive functioning skills” and their related behaviors. Many people who are unfamiliar with the condition think of ADHD as a condition that usually occurs in boys. However, ADHD occurs about equally in males and females, and the related challenges persist throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Executive functioning skills that may be affected due to ADHD include:

  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity (acting before fully considering consequences)
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Memory
  • Motivation and effort
  • Organization
  • Social skills

What are the types of ADHD?

There are three sub-types of ADHD, based on the symptoms a child has:

  • Combined presentation – child exhibits symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity for a time period of at least six months
  • Predominantly inattentive presentation – child exhibits symptoms of inattention for a time period of at least six months
  •  Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation – child exhibits symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity for a time period of at least six months

What causes ADHD?

ADHD is caused by chemical, structural and connectivity differences in a child’s brain, which is mostly the result of genetics.

What are symptoms of ADHD?

Symptoms of inattention 

Signs and symptoms of inattention presented in ADHD include:

  • Avoids tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time, including schoolwork or homework
  • Being easily distracted
  • Can’t hold attention on tasks or play activities
  • Doesn’t follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or other tasks
  • Doesn’t pay close attention to details 
  • Doesn’t seem to listen when spoken to directly 
  • Has trouble organizing tasks and activities
  • Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work or in other activities
  • Often forgetful in daily activities

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity

Signs and symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity presented in ADHD include:

  • Always has to be “on the go”
  • Blurts out an answer before the speaker has finished asking the question
  • Fidgets with or taps hands or feet
  • Has difficulty waiting their turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Leaves seat when instructed to stay in seat
  • Runs around or climbs in situations when it’s not appropriate
  • Squirms when seated or trying to be still
  • Talks excessively
  • Unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly
     

Further information is available through the National Institute of Mental Health or through Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Resources

ADHD Testing

ADHD Medication Management

ADHD Counseling/Therapy

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