What is ADHD (Introduction to ADHD)

What is ADHD? Understanding Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD: ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental or behavior disorder that makes a person hyperactive, inattentive, or impulsive

ADHD is one of the common disorders affecting millions of children in the United States. So, Is your fidgeting normal or is it a mental disorder? Disorders like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder cause symptoms that are life-altering. 

So, let us understand the concept of mental disorder and find out if your symptoms indicate a problem like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

What is ADHD?

What is ADHD (Introduction to ADHD)

The abbreviation ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the brain structure and is different from other people.

Therefore, its effects cause a person to be inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive. Due to these traits, the disorder impacts professional, personal, social, and other aspects of life. 

Furthermore, most symptoms stem from executive dysfunction and emotional dysregulation. The disorder is more diagnosed in boys than girls due to the way symptoms show up.

This does not indicate that boys are more prominent at developing ADHD, but their symptoms make them more diagnosable. 

Moreover, the symptoms start showing up during childhood and continue in adulthood in around 30-50% of people. The disorder makes its way as they find difficulty with school work, managing things, maintaining focus and concentration, etc.

Therefore, the disorder may result in poor self-worth, high self-criticism, and much more. 

In adults, it gets difficult to diagnose ADHD as some symptoms may change or they can also be a result of other mental disorders.

Mental disorders are not easy to understand, so to get it in more depth, let us read other aspects of it. 

What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?

What is Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It affects both children and adults and can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life.

Basically, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder brings challenges like difficulty focusing, being hyperactive, and acting impulsively.

  • Proper diagnosis is key for effective management.
  • Treatment options include medication, therapy, and support.
  • Understanding ADHD helps individuals and their loved ones navigate daily life.
  • By accessing appropriate strategies and resources, people with ADHD can thrive and lead fulfilling lives.

Types of ADHD 

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has different types and is diagnosed according to the symptoms that are more dominant than others.

There the main three types of ADHD that follow as:

1.InattentiveThis ADHD type makes it difficult for a person to stay focused or to manage or concentrate on an activity or task. So, it makes a person distracted and forgetful. 
2.Hyperactive-ImpulsiveThe person becomes hyperactive or fidgets a lot. Also, make impulsive decisions or speak without thought. 
3.Combined typeThe symptoms of the above two types are present in a person and both types may be prominent and may change overtime. 
Types of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD 

As there are different types and everyone has a different brain structure, symptoms do vary in everyone. But there are some prominent and common symptoms in people or children with ADHD which are:

  • Poor management skills 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Disorganization 
  • Make careless mistakes
  • Daydreaming 
  • Excessive restlessness 
  • Frequent mood swings 
  • Fidgeting 
  • Not able to sit in one place 

These symptoms do vary in people and usually start during childhood. However, people who do not seek treatment do not overcome these symptoms and they continue in their adulthood.

Causes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

There are various kinds of research that are still going on to know about managing and reducing the risk of the disorder. However, there is still not enough evidence that can prove the exact cause of the neurodevelopmental disorder. 

However, studies conclude with enough data that the following factors can impact a lot and may cause ADHD:

  1. Genetics.
  2. Environment.
  3. Brain injury.
  4. Premature delivery.
  5. Low birth weight.
  6. Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy.
  7. Exposure to unusual environments.

Some popular beliefs are there indicating the cause like eating too much sugar, family chaos, too much screen time, social factors like poverty, etc. Though these beliefs may be popular, there are not enough studies that support these beliefs.

Besides these factors may make the symptoms worse but they are not the core cause of the problem. 

History of ADHD

Before the disorder, hyperactivity first came into play, as Sir Alexander Crichton describes mental restlessness in his book. However, the first description of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder came in 1902 by George Still in one of his lectures.

There are different terminologies that change over time. The different types of disorders were classified under varying DSM classes. Then, in 1994, all the types were under the DSM-IV whereas later in 2013, it was under DSM-V. Recently, in 2022, these terms are under the DSM-5-TR. 

For the treatment, the medicine Benzedrine was the first amphetamine that was approved in 1934. Later methylphenidate and other medications came into the market but the use of stimulants for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder was marked out in 1937. 

Is it ADHD or some other problem?

The ADHD signs and symptoms may look familiar to many people. But do not worry, not everyone has a mental disorder.

These symptoms seem to be common as anyone can face them under different circumstances for a small period of time. So, it is not Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder if these symptoms are not consistent. 

On the other hand, if these behavior patterns stem from childhood or are severe, which affect different aspects of a person’s life can be the result of a disorder.

Also, adults can face difficulty through the diagnosis as most adults have comorbidities like anxiety disorder, mood disorder, or other illnesses. 

Complications of ADHD

Living with ADHD is not an easy thing as it produces tons of complications in life, especially for a child. Some of the common challenges that people face are:

  • Poor school or work performance
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Trouble with the law
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Frequent car accidents or other accidents
  • Unstable relationships
  • Poor physical and mental health
  • Poor self-image
  • Suicide attempts

These are not exaggerated complications but people with ADHD do face these problems without even realizing it. Therefore, treatment is necessary so that they can lead a normal and happy life.

How to diagnose ADHD?

As it is a complex behavioral disorder, it may involve various steps to completely diagnose the disorder.

As the disorder is under DSM-5, the psychiatrist uses the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5) guidelines to diagnose the problem and type. 

Now, according to the criteria, to conclude ADHD, one must experience at least 6 or more symptoms of a particular type. Also, the symptoms must be present continuously for at least six months. 

On the other hand, in teens above 17 or adults, ADHD can be diagnosed by having at least 5 symptoms instead of six. Therefore, contact your healthcare provider or child’s pediatrician for the exact diagnosis.

In the case of children, doctors will also ask about behavior and other symptoms from parents, caregivers, or teachers to diagnose accurately.

What is ADHD treatment?

For the treatment, there are different options that your doctor can prescribe according to what’s best for you. When it comes to a child’s treatment, it may involve training and other things as they are growing and require extra attention.

Training with parents and teachers, counseling, maintaining a routine, changing behavior, and medications are some best treatments. 

Similarly, for adults, the treatment may involve medications, therapy, education and training, and therapies. Though, for children medications, especially stimulants are involved when other treatments do not work.

However, doctors can prescribe stimulant or non-stimulant medications for adults to treat ADHD disorder.

Medications for ADHD treatment 

Along with other treatments, stimulants are the first-line medicines for the treatment. Non-stimulants are also effective but doctors prescribe when other medicines or treatments are not effective. 

Stimulants are drugs that impact the central nervous system and increase brain chemicals. These chemicals include dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which change the brain chemistry and lower the symptoms of the disorder. It helps in lowering hyperactivity and impulsiveness while increasing focus and concentration. 

Stimulants are a wide range of medications besides amphetamine was the first drug to be approved for treatment. Therefore, later the FDA-approved Adderall which contains four amphetamine salts and it is still one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States.

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Here are some frequently asked questions about ADHD:

What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent patterns of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It can affect both children and adults.

What are the common symptoms of ADHD?

Common symptoms of ADHD include difficulty maintaining attention or focus, being easily distracted, hyperactivity, forgetfulness, and difficulties in managing time.

Can ADHD people lead normal lives?

Symptoms of ADHD can put hurdles in living a normal life. However, recognizing ADHD and its symptoms and working towards them can bring the right change. Also, with the right treatment and therapies, one can definitely lead a better life. 

What other disorder can look like ADHD?

Sometimes certain behaviors may indicate ADHD, but they may be the result of some other disorder. Your symptoms can also arise from bipolar disorder, autism, sleeping disorder, etc.

Does ADHD worsen with age?

No, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder does not get worse with age. In contrast, the disorder gets old like us and most people outgrow its symptoms with time, age, and treatment. 

What foods should one eat with ADHD?

There is no miracle food that can treat ADHD. But having foods that maintain your sugar levels and have protein so that you keep full for a long may help in the long run. 

Are there over-the-counter medications for ADHD?

There are no over-the-counter medications and one must avoid taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Stimulants like Adderall or Ritalin are prescription medications that can help improve your symptoms.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) brings a lot of changes in behavior, cognitive functions, and much more. As it is a disorder that causes a person to be impulsive, hyperactive, and inattentive. Therefore, the right diagnosis with effective treatment is a must-have. 

Furthermore, stimulants are the functional treatment for the disorder but they are also controlled substances which makes them prescription medications. Before you buy Adderall or use it, consult your healthcare provider to save yourself from the negative impacts. 

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