Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD is a common childhood disorder that may include hyperactivity or an inability to focus. Another form of this disorder is attention deficit disorder (ADD). Both children and adults can have ADHD.

What causes ADHD?

Although scientists are not entirely sure what causes ADHD, they think the following may play a role:

Heredity: ADHD tends to run in families. Researches speculate that there may be a certain gene that causes ADHD.

Food Additives: Some researchers hypothesize that certain food additives can make children more prone to not paying attention.

Pre-natal Factors: Some studies suggest that there might be a link to tobacco and alcohol use by the mother when pregnant and a child's propensity to develop ADHD.

Brain Injury: Traumatic brain injury may cause ADHD-like symptoms in children.


What are the symptoms of ADHD?

There are many symptoms of ADHD. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are common to children of young ages. If your child has a lot of the following symptoms and has been exhibiting them for over six months, they may have ADHD. Consult your health care provider to be sure.

Inattention Symptoms

Hyperactivity Symptoms

is easily distracted

fidgets or squirms in his/her seat

constantly loses important things like homework or assignments

non-stop talking

does not listen when spoken to

extremely impatient

struggles to follow instructions

has trouble doing quiet tasks

daydreams or moves slowly 

runs around trying to touch everything in sight

becomes bored with a task after only a few minutes 

is constantly moving or in motion

finds organizing things difficult 

interrupts other conversations

misses important details 

says inappropriate comments regardless of consequences

becomes easily confused

shows emotions without restraint

has difficulty processing information 

has trouble waiting for his/her turn in games

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"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)." NIMH RSS. National Institute of Mental Health. <>.