What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder that affects how you pay attention, sit still, and control your behavior. It happens in children and teens and can continue into adulthood.
ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder in children. Boys are more likely to have it than girls. It’s usually spotted during the early school years, when a child begins to have problems paying attention.
ADHD can't be prevented or cured. But spotting it early, plus having a good treatment and education plan, can help a child or adult with ADHD manage their symptoms.
1. Inattentive. A child with ADHD:
- Is easily distracted|
- Doesn't follow directions or finish tasks
- Doesn't seem to be listening
- Doesn't pay attention and makes careless mistakes
- Forgets about daily activities
- Has problems organizing daily tasks
- Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still
- Often loses things
- Tends to daydream
2. Hyperactive-impulsive. A child with ADHD:
- Often squirms, fidgets, or bounces when sitting
- Doesn't stay seated
- Has trouble playing quietly
- Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things.
- Talks excessively
- Is always “on the go,” as if “driven by a motor”
- Has trouble waiting for their turn
- Blurts out answers
- Interrupts others
3. Combined. This involves signs of both other types.
Experts aren’t sure what causes ADHD. Several things may lead to it, including:
- Genes. ADHD tends to run in families.
- Chemicals. Brain chemicals in people with ADHD may be out of balance.
- Brain changes. Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD.
- Poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse during pregnancy. These things can affect a baby’s brain development.
- Toxins, such as lead. They may affect a child's brain development.
- A brain injury or a brain disorder. Damage to the front of the brain, called the frontal lobe, can cause problems controlling impulses and emotions.
Sugar doesn’t cause ADHD. ADHD also isn’t caused by too much TV, a stressful home life, poor schools, or food allergies.