Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interfere with daily functioning, academic or occupational performance, and social relationships.
Inattention symptoms may include difficulty sustaining attention, forgetting or losing things, avoiding tasks that require sustained effort, being easily distracted, and making careless mistakes. Hyperactivity symptoms may include fidgeting or squirming, feeling restless, talking excessively, interrupting or intruding on others, and having difficulty waiting for a turn. Impulsivity symptoms may include acting without thinking, interrupting conversations, and engaging in risky or inappropriate behaviors.
The exact cause of ADHD is not known, but it is believed to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. It is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation that may include a clinical interview, rating scales, and behavioral assessments.
Treatment of ADHD usually involves a combination of medication, behavioral therapy, and educational interventions. Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines, are commonly used to improve attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity. Behavioral therapy may involve teaching parents and children skills for managing behaviors, improving communication, and building social skills. Educational interventions may include accommodations in the classroom or workplace, such as extended time on tests or breaks during work. With appropriate treatment, many individuals with ADHD are able to manage their symptoms and lead productive lives.