Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
Diseases » ADHD » Introduction


ADHD: Introduction

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common neurobehavioral developmental disorder. The hallmarks of ADHD are problems with inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD usually occurs in childhood and can continue into adulthood. It is estimated that three to five percent of the children in the U.S have ADHD, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The predominant symptoms or behaviors of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These behaviors result in further symptoms, including difficulties with concentration, controlling behavior, and remaining focused on a task or activity. People with ADHD may also experience hyperactivity or over-activity. For more information about symptoms, refer to symptoms of ADHD.

ADHD does not directly cause complications, but people with the condition are more likely to have or develop such conditions as Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, depression, conduct disorder, and learning disabilities.

The cause or causes of ADHD are not yet known, although researchers believe that genes may be one factor in its development. It is most likely that the disorder is the result of a combination of elements, including environmental factors, exposure to toxins, traumatic head injury, nutrition, and/or social influences.

A common misnomer about the cause of ADHD is that children with the disorder are "spoiled" or that they consume too much sugar and caffeine. Although caffeine may have some impact on energy levels, ADHD is a true medical disorder and is not cause purely by "bad parenting" or too much candy. Current studies have not linked the use of sugar to a difference in behavior.

There is no single test for ADHD, and a diagnosis of the condition is based partly on symptoms. Only a full evaluation by a licensed health care professional can truly diagnose or rule out ADHD. It is generally accepted that person must exhibit symptoms to an extent greater than the average person of the same age for six months or more.

It is important that a person who is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD be evaluated for other medical conditions that might be affecting their behavior. These include petit mal seizures, diabetes, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, and conditions that can affect hearing or vision, such as ear infections or a need for glasses.

Although there is no cure, ADHD is treatable and can be successfully controlled to effectively reduce symptoms and allow a person with the condition to live a normal, productive life. This can be achieved by developing an individualized treatment plan that may include the use of a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

This is no way to directly prevent ADHD, but there are ways to help ensure that a person is as healthy as possible and best able to live effectively with ADHD. These include not smoking, avoiding toxins, and keeping a daily routine. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of ADHD. ...more »

ADHD: ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a common neurobehavioral developmental disorder that usually occurs in childhood and can continue into adulthood. The predominant behaviors of ADHD include:

These behaviors result in difficulties with:

  • Concentration
  • Remaining focused on a task or activity
  • Controlling behavior
  • Hyperactivity or over-activity

The symptoms of ADHD can be treated, but there currently is no cure for the disorder. Most people with ADHD can be successfully treated and lead normal, productive lives at home, work, school and with friends and family. ...more »

ADHD: Symptoms

Symptoms of ADHD are categorized into those of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These categories of ADHD are the same for children and adults although they may exhibit symptoms in different ways.

Symptoms of inattention include an inability to stay focused on tasks appropriate for age, having difficulty concentrating on one thing, loosing important ...more symptoms »

ADHD: Treatments

Symptoms of ADHD can be successfully controlled with medications. Drugs call stimulants are commonly prescribed. Stimulants actually work in reverse in people with ADHD and can produce a calming effect and improved concentration.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication treatments for ADHD are generally considered safe when given under regular ...more treatments »

ADHD: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of ADHD may missed because its symptoms can mimic symptoms of such conditions as anxiety disorder, depression, conduct disorder, and learning disabilities. It is important to understand that although these disorders are separate conditions from ADHD, they often accompany ADHD.

The symptoms of ADHD can also mimic such conditions as petit mal seizures ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of ADHD

Treatments for ADHD

  • General lifestyle changes
    • Stress reduction techniques
    • Dietary changes - aimed at treating any possible hidden food allergy causes, although this is considered of dubious value by some health professionals.
  • Medications
    • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to ADHD:

Wrongly Diagnosed with ADHD?

Types of ADHD

  • Predominantly inattentive ADHD subtype (type of ADD)
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD subtype (type of ADD)
  • Combined inattentive-hyperactive ADHD subtype (type of ADD)
  • more types...»

Curable Types of ADHD

Possibly curable types of ADHD include:

  • In utero exposure to toxic substances related ADHD
  • Food additives related ADHD
  • more types...»

Rare Types of ADHD:

Rare types of ADHD include:

Diagnostic Tests for ADHD

Test for ADHD in your own home

Click for Tests
  • Parent consultant interview
  • Teacher consultation interview
  • Psychology assessment
  • Dietary changes - Can be used diagnostically to rule out certain food intolerances or allergies/reactions.
  • more tests...»

ADHD: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to ADHD:

Causes of ADHD

Read more about causes of ADHD.

More information about causes of ADHD:

Disease Topics Related To ADHD

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, ADHD:

ADHD: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and ADHD

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even more »

Parental fears about toddler behavior often unfounded: There are many behaviors in infants and toddlers that may give rise to a fear that the child has more »

Rare epilepsy misdiagnosed as ADHD: The less common disorder of temporal lobe epilepsy is a type of epilepsy without physical seizures. Some patients suffer from hyperactivity and similar symptoms, making a more »

Various conditions misdiagnosed as ADHD: The hyperactivity type symptoms that are often diagnosed as ADHD, can also be caused by a number of physical conditions, as reported in the more »

ADHD diagnosis overlooked hidden nutritional disorder: The book "A Dose of Sanity" reports on a case of a boy diagnosed with ADHD and receiving Ritalin. His symptoms included tiredness, more »

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the more »

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can more »

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians. Many more »

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often fail to be diagnosed or have a delayed diagnosis. See misdiagnosis of eating disorders or more »

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur more »

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders). Failure to diagnose these anxiety more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms more »

ADHD: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: ADHD

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to ADHD:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to ADHD, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

ADHD: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Prognosis for ADHD

Prognosis for ADHD: ADHD is not fatal and non-degenerative. May have lifelong effects but improvement with correct diagnosis and treatment.

Research about ADHD

Visit our research pages for current research about ADHD treatments.

Statistics for ADHD

ADHD: Broader Related Topics

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about ADHD, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Related ADHD Info

Videos about ADHD


More information about ADHD

  1. ADHD: Introduction
  2. Symptoms
  3. Causes
  4. Treatments
  5. Misdiagnosis
  6. Testing & Diagnosis
  7. Home Testing
  8. Types
  9. Complications
  10. Prognosis

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise