ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurological and behavioral disorder that is most often identified in children but that can continue into adulthood. The characteristics of ADHD include difficulty paying attention, impulsive behavior and, in many cases, hyperactivity. The negative results of the disorder can include difficulty getting good grades in school, trouble behaving well at home and difficulty interacting positively with friends.
Causes and Types of ADHD
Though researchers aren’t sure what causes one child to get ADHD while another one doesn’t, there does appear to be a strong genetic component to the condition. Having a low birth weight or being delivered prematurely, alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, brain injuries and toxic environmental exposures are other factors that might increase the risk for ADHD.
Many people believe that social factors in children's upbringing may also affect their risk for ADHD. These theories include things like watching too much TV, eating too many sugary snacks or growing up in a chaotic household. Though these factors could exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD, there is no scientific evidence that cause the condition.
Though attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the standard classification for the condition, in reality AHDH manifests itself in different children in different ways. For example, some children may be primarily inattentive without the presence of hyperactivity. In others, hyperactivity is the primary symptom. And sometimes, the two symptoms appear simultaneously.
Treatment of ADHD
The old line of thinking on ADHD was that it improved and went away with age, but more recent research indicates that symptoms may persist into adulthood and continue to cause trouble in both working environments and relationships. For this reason, treatment of ADHD is typically recommended.
The specific treatment will vary based on the specific person with the ADHD diagnosis. Usually, treatment will involve some combination of therapy and medications.
SOURCES: Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD); U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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