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The ABC's of ADHD

Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is it?

ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. It is most common in adolescents and children.

Types of ADHD

Inattentive type: miss details, get bored easily and quickly, trouble focusing on tasks, difficulty organizing thoughts, lose items when needed, does not seem to listen, appears to be daydreaming, trouble following directions, processes information slowly

Hyperactive-impulsive type: squirm/ fidget, difficulty sitting still, constantly talking, talk and play with objects, trouble engaging in quiet activities, impatient, always “on the go, always blurt out answers”

Combination type: When a person has a combination type, their symptoms do not fall in one specific category within the inattention or hyperactive-impulsive behavior. Instead a variety of the symptoms are shown, causing a combination.


Inattention: getting distracted, having poor concentration and organizational skills

Impulsivity: interrupting, taking risks

Hyperactivity: never seeming to slow down, talking and fidgeting, difficulties staying on tasks


It is not known what the exact cause for ADHD is, but there are several factors that may lead to it.

● Genes: ADHD tends to run in families

● Chemicals: Brain chemicals may be out of balance.

● Brain changes: Areas of the brain that control attention are less active.

How to Diagnose ADHD

There is not an official test to diagnose ADHD. Children usually begin to display symptoms before they are 7-years-old. Seeing as ASHD shares symptoms with other disorders, your doctor would want to rule out any other conditions. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) is used across the United States to diagnose children and adults with ADHD.


Behavioral Therapy. This is typically recommended before medication is prescribed. Behavioral therapy can help those diagnosed with ADHD control their behavior by replacing the inappropriate behavior with good behavior. Parents are able to receive behavior management training to learn how to control their children’s inappropriate behavior. Children under 6-years-old start with behavioral therapy before introducing medication. Children over the age of 6 usually have a combination of therapy and medication.


Two types of medication:

Stimulants. They are the most commonly prescribed medications. Almost 80% of children have fewer symptoms when they are on this medication.

Nonstimulants. This medication does not work as quickly but it is seen to last up to 24 hours.

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