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What is ADHD?

Much like ADD, ADHD is a difficult disorder to diagnose. Similar to attention deficit disorder, ADHD includes the element of hyperactivity in the definition which makes it different from ADD. Though generally recognized as affecting children and adolescents ADHD can continue into adulthood. Like ADD, those suffering from ADHD will have difficulty focusing and concentrating, are easily bored and demonstrates hyperactivity in the form of squirming, fidgeting, difficulty playing quietly and excessive talking. Agreeing on an exact definition of ADHD is hard since experts often disagree on what constitutes a learning disability and a child simply behaving like a child. However, when impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, the inability to focus and constant inattention become habit it is a sign that the person is suffering from ADHD.

When diagnosing a child or adult with ADHD there are three categories most experts agree on: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. If someone merely forgets something once or acts out inappropriately due to high stress or fatigue it is not a reason to jump to the conclusion that the person has ADHD. However, prolonged and consistent behavior that includes being easily distracted, constant movement, often interrupting others, forgetful about assignments and not paying attention can be symptoms that someone has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

While ADHD is often diagnosed in children and adolescents, adults can have ADHD too. As with ADD adults often mask their disorder with defense mechanisms that can hide a learning disability. Many may not even know that their lack of focus and inability to concentrate is due to a disorder. Adults who suffer from ADHD may have symptoms that include anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulty holding down a job, substance abuse, chronic boredom, depression and relationship problems. Often irritated and unable to control anger, adults who suffer from ADHD will find relief in the use of drugs or alcohol which can lead to addiction.

What causes ADHD is not known. Researchers speculate that it is a combination of hereditary traits, a chemical imbalance in the brain and possibly the result of head injuries such as concussions. However, even children and adults that have no physical defects such as brain trauma or a history of ADHD in their genes can show symptoms of the disorder. Diagnosing someone with ADHD is a tricky and complex process that needs to be handled with care and patience to ensure the patient gets the help they need to live a normal life.

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