What is ADHD?
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What is ADHD?

A:

Quick Answer

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is one of the most common childhood disorders, although it can continue into adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include inability to stay focused or concentrate, difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.

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According to WebMD, there are three different categories of symptoms for ADHD: inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Signs of inattention are not immediately noticeable, causing many children with this form of ADHD to be overlooked and go untreated for a long time. Symptoms include not paying attention to details, making careless mistakes or becoming easily distracted. Impulsivity symptoms include blurting out words without thinking, frequently interrupting others or starting conversations at inappropriate times. Hyperactivity symptoms include not being able to sit still, constant fidgeting, getting up to walk or run around and squirming.

While the specific causes and risk factors of ADHD are unknown, research as of 2014 suggests that genetics play an important role, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists are also studying other possible causes, such as brain injury or trauma, drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy, low birth weight and environmental exposure. The CDC states that once diagnosed by a medical professional, ADHD is best treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Every person is different and will respond best to different forms of treatment; therefore, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What part of the brain is affected by ADHD?

    A:

    ADHD affects the whole brain. Brain development in young people with ADHD is up to three years slower, says the National Institute of Mental Health. This delay is particularly marked in the cerebral cortex, which includes the parts of the brain responsible for planning, thought, attention and voluntary action.

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  • Q:

    Is ADHD real?

    A:

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a common disorder among children, adolescents and adults. Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder affects approximately 9 percent of American children between the ages of 13 and 18 and approximately 4.1 percent of adults age 18 or older.

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  • Q:

    How do you know if you have ADHD?

    A:

    To be diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a person must visit a licensed medical practitioner. According to WebMD, symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness and/or hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior may also be present. ADHD is often diagnosed in children who display these symptoms to a far greater degree than their peers. Adults who are diagnosed with ADHD may have symptoms slightly different from children, such as restlessness instead of hyperactivity.

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  • Q:

    Is ADHD a disability?

    A:

    As of 2014, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not classified as a learning disability, according to the Learning Disabilities Association of America. However, people with ADHD are protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other federal legislation.

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