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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly referred to as ADHD, is a developmental disorder that can be characterized by the existence of both hyperactivity and attention problems. These problems rarely occur independent of each other, and they most commonly begin before a child reaches seven years of age. ADHD is one of the most widely studied psychiatric disorders in children, and it is also one of the most commonly diagnosed. Many children who are diagnosed with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood, but with early intervention and treatment, the condition can be managed. Most individuals can live healthy, productive lives with ADHD.


ADHD can be somewhat tricky to diagnose because its characteristic symptoms are often personality traits that can be widely seen in the general population. As a result, there has been considerable controversy regarding exactly how-to diagnosis the condition. In general, it is seen as a problem that stems from a developmental disorder that causes some individuals to develop specific behaviors like impulse control later than others. ADHD can be broken down into three sub-types – predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive, and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive.


Some symptoms of ADHD are associated with hyperactivity while others are associated with inattentiveness. Signs of hyperactivity include fidgeting, squirming, talking, difficulty remaining still, and difficulty performing quiet activities. They may also behave impulsively and have trouble with things like being patient or waiting to take turns in a game. Symptoms of inattentiveness include being easily distracted or forgetful, switching from one task to another, becoming bored easily, daydreaming, not listening, and struggling to follow instructions. Most children with ADHD exhibit signs of both types and, as a result, are diagnosed as having combined ADHD.

Many children with ADHD also have other mental and behavioral problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, oppositional defiance disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or bipolar disorder. Because ADHD rarely occurs independent of other conditions, it is essential for doctors to take the time to reach a complete diagnosis through a comprehensive psychiatric assessment.


Treatment for ADHD typically requires some prescription medication or behavioral therapy. Studies have shown that the combination of the two is more effective than the use of just one or the other. Children with ADHD may need behavioral treatment in the form of therapy, intervention, or social skills training. If medication and therapy are started at a young age, children are less likely to face difficulty as adolescents and adults. When children are taught how to manage the condition, they are often able to develop coping mechanisms by the time they reach adulthood and can live healthy lives. In some cases, they can outgrow the condition entirely.