What Is ADHD?

Have your child’s teachers reported that he or she is having difficulty focusing, sitting still or paying attention in class? Some of these behaviors are normal in childhood, but sometimes these behaviors can affect a child’s ability to do well in school or in other life activities. Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurological disorder that can manifest as primarily inattentive type, primarily hyperactive/impulsive type, or a combination of both types. Adults can also be affected by ADHD. Although symptoms may be somewhat different in adults, ADHD is not something people “grow out of.” It can continue to impact a person’s daily life even into adulthood. ADHD may look different in boys than girls. Boys may have more outward symptoms, being regarded as loud or rowdy, where girls may internalize their symptoms, resulting in low self-esteem and/or anxiety when they perceive themselves as different or not measuring up to peers.  

Causes Of ADHD

ADHD is a brain-based, neurological disorder. It manifests in early childhood, although may not always be immediately recognized. Family history and early brain trauma are strong factors for developing ADHD. There are other mental health disorders with similar symptoms to ADHD (such as: posttraumatic stress disorder) which need to be examined when evaluating for ADHD.  

Symptoms Of ADHD

  • Inability or difficulty focusing for an appropriate amount of time
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
  • Difficulty with time management
  • Disorganization
  • Restlessness (increased motor activity, fidgeting, not able to sit still)
  • Low self-esteem

Treatment For ADHD

While there are many approved medications available to treat ADHD, psychotherapy also plays an important role in treatment. Behavior management and strategies for organization and focus, as well as therapy to address issues with self esteem, are important components of learning to live with ADHD.