What is ADHD ?

Just What is ADHD? When first confronted with a friend or family member who has been told they may have ADHD this is the first question that comes to mind.

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. When the symptoms of ADHD are seen in children, generally they begin to appear before the age of 7. ADHD appears to be diagnosed more more commonly with boys than girls. It is important to note that while the disease is common among children, it does not mean that the disorder is only present among children. Even when not addressed or detected in the early stages, ADHD symptoms can be present and persist well into and throughout adulthood.

Definition of ADHD

The proper diagnosis of any illness must rely on a standard in the medical field. That standard for mental health has been the DSM-IV: reviewed and updated every few years by the American Psychiatric Association. In May of 2013 the APA published the DSM V. The standard definition for ADHD is defined based on 3 observable behaviors: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Because these behaviors are common at times with everyone there has been some controversy about too many people being identified as having ADHD. As a result much research has gone into making an accurate diagnosis. Specifically: to be diagnosed with ADHD a person must have significant levels of these symptoms to a degree that is more than other children or persons of their age, for a period of at least 6 months or more and that these symptoms seen in at least 2 different settings - settings meaning school or work, home, and social networks.

While the definition of ADHD is based on observable behaviors impacting the person in 2 or more settings, it is the impact of these behaviors on normal functioning that is perhaps even more important to identify. This impact can result in very meaningful dysfunction for that person - performance at school or work is hindered, these symptoms can have a negative impact on relationships and can cause a difficulty in keeping track of projects or calendars.

Symptoms of ADHD

Children who may have ADHD may show signs or symtpoms in one area mentioned above of have a combination of two or all three --- inattentive type, hyperactive-impulsive type and a combination of these two types. Each core trait is listed below with several specific definnitions of behaviors or symptoms listed below to better identify that trait:

Inattentive Type

  • Lack of concentration with tasks assigned
  • Forgetfulness
  • Task avoidance
  • Difficulty with listening or following instructions

Hyperactive-impulsive Type

  • Impulsiveness
  • Becoming fearless or undaunted
  • Becoming fidgety
  • Constant chattering
  • Cannot wait their turn
  • Intruding

The combination type is the most common of the three and may also result in the development of poor sleep and eating habits, as well as low self-esteem.

Definition of ADD and ADHD

A primary observed symptom of inattention has been called ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder. The combined type is best called ADHD - meaning both inattention and hyperactivity.

Among Infants, some of the following patterns may indicate ADHD symptoms:

  • Tantrums
  • Difficulties with feeding or sleeping
  • Constant crying
  • Restlessness

Most children, however, are typically restless or inattentive. Usually these symptoms in infants are not identified as ADHD, as they tend to not cause dysfunctions until they begin to experience various settings. These symptoms do not immediately mean that they are affected with ADHD. Parents should have their children undergo ADHD testing if their behavior eventually becomes hard to deal with or when these signs become more pronounced than normal.

What is ADHD - Diagnosis

When a child’s behavior affects many aspects of his life negatively, or when a parent has observed that some symptoms are becoming more severe and have lasted for months, an evaluation by a doctor must be done in order to determine if the behavior can be characterized as ADHD. The evaluation, however, isn’t just done with one specific test. In addition to their primary doctor or pediatrician, the best treatment option may need to be a team approach: Doctor, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist, Dietitician.

Some observed symptoms may actually be caused or attributed to other disorders. A series of diagnostic tests, quizzes, blood work, and consultations with medical experts may be conducted so that all these symptoms will be accurately diagnosed, and that certain other illness may be ruled out - avoiding a mis-diagnosis.

What is ADHD - Causes

Scientific studies with ADHD patients still cannot pinpoint its exact causes. Although it has indications of a biological origin, meaning, a child with ADHD is most likely to have a very close relative also affected by it, further research and tests are still being undertaken by experts to prove how genetics and ADHD actually link together.

Curing ADHD

There is no one cure-all for every patient with ADHD, but there are plenty of ways doctors can help parents and families successfully manage this though the help of medication and specific long-term plans. Management of ADHD is basically a lifestyle shift that will help the child, as well as everyone close to him, adapt and cope with his own behavior. In some cases symptoms will be reduced to a point that it may indeed appear to be gone. Some persons report they are able to outgrow ADHD.

Famous People With ADHD

Many well known people and celebrities throughout history and around the world from all walks of life, business, arts and politics, do or may have had ADHD. Some of them never knew to ask What is ADHD:

  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Robin Williams
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Albert Einstein
  • Walt Disney

Even with the disorder, these people and many others, have learned how to live their lives successfully by learning how to handle their ADHD behavior.


More ADHD articles:

Causes of ADHD - The causes of ADHD are especially a concern for parents of children affected with the disorder. Hoping to find a cure, they understandably want to know the answers...

Definition of ADHD - The definition of ADHD, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder published in 1994, is "a behavioral condition defined by...

ADHD Symptoms - The most common ADHD symptoms includes inattentiveness or hyperactivity, or a combination of both. The condition makes it difficult for the child...

Signs of ADHD - Understand the signs of ADHD so that you will learn what is and what is not ADHD. There is a good chance that you, a family member or a close friend...

History of ADHD - The modern history of ADHD cases starts around the beginning of the twentieth century, with a series of papers and lectures delivered by...



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