What Is ADHD?Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based disorder that can affect children, adolescents and adults. Researchers are still exploring what causes ADHD. We do know that the disorder often runs in families and many studies suggest that genes play a big role in ADHD. Other possible underlying causes include environmental factors, such as early exposure to lead or to alcohol before birth, and brain injury.
Although ADHD is not a learning disorder itself, it is frequently seen in individuals who have LD. About one third of people with LD also have ADHD.
Symptoms and Types of ADHDMany of these symptoms are common among children of all ages and developmental levels. Signs of ADHD, however, are often severe, frequent and first occur as early as age three and often by age six. The main symptoms are related to:
- Staying focused and paying attention
- Delaying gratification or controlling impulses
- Being overly active or restless
ADHD is a neurobiological condition characterized by inappropriate levels of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. There are two main types of ADHD. A third type is a combination of the two.
Hyperactive-Impulsive Type of ADHDChildren with this type of ADHD usually receive a diagnosis at a younger age than those with other types. Those with this type may:
- Move and fidget constantly (although some teens and adults show fewer signs of over-activity while still reporting feelings of internal restlessness)
- Talk nonstop
- Have trouble with quiet or seated activities
- Often act without thinking about the consequences of their actions
- Have trouble taking turns and/or often disrupt games and conversations
- Have trouble controlling temper outbursts
Inattentive Type of ADHDChildren with this type of ADHD have trouble directing and sustaining the needed attention and effort into their schoolwork. This type is more easily missed at an early age. As responsibility for schoolwork and life management increases, trouble staying organized becomes more apparent. Children with this type may:
- Appear to not pay attention to details or to listen when spoken to
- Daydream a lot
- Be slow to process information
- Struggle to follow instructions
- Not sustain attention long enough to learn something new
- Have trouble completing homework
- Misplace things needed to complete tasks
- Become bored easily
- Be poorly organized