Everything You Need to Know About ADHD and ADD

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Symptoms | Types | ADD vs. ADHD | Adult ADHD |
ADHD in children | Causes | ADHD testing | Treatment |
Medication for ADHD | Natural remedies | Is ADHD a disability |
ADHD and depression | Tips for coping | Outlook | Approach


What is ADHD?

ADHD, aka attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a mental health disorder that cause abnormal levels of hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. People with ADHD may experience trouble in focusing their attention on a single task or feel restless over a short period of time.


Both adults and children can encounter ADHD. It’s a diagnosis that American Psychiatric Association (APA) have consensus over. Learn about types of ADHD and symptoms in both children and adults.


ADHD symptoms

A broad range of behaviors are associated with ADHD. Some of the more common ones include:

  • facing trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks
  • being forgetful about completing tasks
  • being distracted easily
  • feeling restless doing nothing
  • disrupting other people’s conversations

If you or your child faced ADHD, you may have some or all these symptoms. The symptoms you have depend on the type of ADHD diagnosis. Explore a list of ADHD symptoms common among children.


Types of ADHD

To make ADHD diagnoses more appropriate, the APA has clustered the condition into three groupings, or types. These types are predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactivity-impulsive, and a combination of both.


Predominantly inattentive

As the name implies, adults or children with this type of ADHD face extreme difficulty focusing, completing tasks, and observing instructions.


Experts too think that many children associated with the inattentive type of ADHD may not receive a full diagnosis because they don’t tend to disrupt the classes. This type is most common among females with ADHD.


Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type

People facing this type of ADHD show mainly hyperactive and impulsive behavior. This can include fidgeting, disrupting people in conversations, and not being able to wait their turn to speak up.


Although inattention is less of a concern with this type of ADHD, people with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may still find it challenging to focus on tasks.


Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive type

This is the most common type of ADHD. People with this combined type of ADHD display both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. These include an inability to pay attention, a tendency toward impulsiveness, and abnormal levels of energy and activity.


The type of ADHD you or your child has will determine how it’s being treated. The type you have can change over time, so your treatment may change, too. Learn more about the three types of ADHD.



You may have heard the terms “ADD” and “ADHD” and thought about the difference between these two.


Attention deficit disorder (“ADD”) is an obsolete term. It was previously used to describe people who facing problems paying attention but aren’t hyperactive. The type of ADHD called predominantly inattentive is now used in place of ADD.


ADHD is the current overarching name of the condition. The term ADHD became official in May 2013, when the APA released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).


The manual is what doctors refer to when making diagnoses for mental health conditions. Get a better understanding of the difference between ADD and ADHD.


Adult ADHD

More than 60 percent [3] of children with ADHD still exhibit symptoms as adults (even in a full-grown state). But for many people, ADHD symptoms decrease or become less frequent as they aged.


That said, treatment is important. Untreated ADHD in adults can have a negative impact on several aspects of life. Symptoms such as issue managing time, forgetfulness, and impatience can cause problems at home, work, and in some types of relationships. Find out more about the signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults and how they can impact your life.


ADHD in children

One in 10 [1] children between ages 5 to 17 years receives an ADHD diagnosis, making this one of the most common childhood neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States.


For children, ADHD is generally associated with problems at school. Children with ADHD often have trouble succeeding in a controlled classroom setting.


Boys are more than twice as likely [2] as girls to receive an ADHD diagnosis. This may be because boys tend to exhibit hallmark symptoms of overly hyperactivity. Although some girls with ADHD may have the classic symptoms of hyperactivity, most don’t. In many cases, girls with ADHD may:

  • daydream frequently
  • be talkative rather than hyperactive

Many symptoms of ADHD can be typical childhood behaviors, so it can be hard to determine what’s ADHD-related and what’s not. Learn more about how to recognize ADHD in toddlers.


What causes ADHD?

Despite the common approach of ADHD, doctors and researchers still can’t confirm what causes the condition. It’s believed to have neurological origins. Some believe that genetics may also play a vital role.


Research [2] suggests that a reduction in dopamine is a factor in ADHD. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that helps move signals from one nerve to another. It plays a role in triggering emotional responses and movements.


Other research [2] suggests a structural difference in the brain. Findings indicate that people with ADHD have less gray-matter volume. Gray matter includes the brain areas that help with:

  • pitch or speech
  • self-control mechanism
  • decision-making process
  • muscle control movement

Researchers are still studying potential causes of ADHD, such as smoking during pregnancy. Find out more about the potential causes and risk factors of ADHD.


ADHD testing and diagnosis

There’s no single test that can tell if you or your child has ADHD. A recent study [1] highlighted the benefits of a new test to diagnose adult-type ADHD, but many clinicians believe an ADHD diagnosis can’t be made based on a single test.


As for a diagnosis, your doctor will assess any symptoms you or your child has had over the previous six months.


Your doctor is likely to gather information from educators or family members and may use checklists and rating scales to review symptoms. They’ll also conduct a physical exam to check for other health problems. Learn more about ADHD rating scales and what they can and cannot do.


If you suspect that you or your child has ADHD, talk to your doctor about getting an evaluation. For your child, you can also talk to their school counselor. Educational institutes regularly assess children for problems that may be affecting their educational performance.


To make the assessment, submit to your doctor or counselor with observations and reports about you or your child’s behavior.


Should they suspect ADHD, they may refer you or your child to an ADHD specialist. Depending on the diagnosis, they may also suggest making an appointment with a psychiatrist or neurologist.


ADHD treatment

Treatment for ADHD typically includes behavioral therapies, medication, or both.


Types of therapy include psychotherapy, plus talk therapy. With talk therapy, you or your child will discuss how ADHD affects your life and ways to help you better cope with it.


Another therapy type is behavioral therapy. This therapy can help you or your child with learning how to monitor, manage and control your behavior.


Like therapy, medical intervention, especially medications, can also be very helpful when you’re living with ADHD. ADHD medications are designed to affect brain chemicals in a way that enables you to better control your impulses and actions.

Find out more about treatment options and behavioral interventions that can help ease ADHD symptoms.


ADHD medication

The two main types of medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants and nonstimulants.


Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are the more commonly prescribed ADHD medications. These drugs work by increasing the amounts of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.


Examples of these drugs include methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine-based stimulants (Adderall).


If stimulants failed to work well for you or your child, or if they cause worrisome side effects, your doctor may suggest a nonstimulant medication. Certain nonstimulant medications work by increasing levels of norepinephrine in the brain.


These medications include atomoxetine (Strattera) and some antidepressants such as bupropion (Wellbutrin).


ADHD medications can have many benefits, as well as side effects. Learn more about medication options for adults with ADHD.


Natural remedies for ADHD

In addition to — or instead of — medication, several remedies have been suggested to help improve ADHD symptoms.


For starters, following a healthy lifestyle may help you or your child manage ADHD symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [3] recommends the following:

  • eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • get at least 45 minutes up to 60 minutes of physical activity per day
  • get plenty of rest
  • limit daily screen time from phones, PCs, and TV

Studies have also shown that yoga [*]tai chi, and spending time outdoors can help calm overactive minds and may ease ADHD symptoms.


Mindfulness meditation is another option. Research [3] in adults and teens has shown meditation to have positive effects on attention and thought processes, as well as on anxiety and depression.


Avoiding certain allergens and food additives are also potential ways to help reduce ADHD symptoms. Learn more about these and other nondrug approaches to addressing ADHD.


Is ADHD a disability?

While ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, it’s not considered a learning disability. However, ADHD symptoms can make it harder for you to learn. Also, it’s possible for ADHD to occur in some individuals who also have learning disabilities.


To help relieve any impact on learning for children, teachers can map out individual guidelines for a student with ADHD. This may include enabling extra time for assignments and tests or developing a personal reward system.


Although it’s not technically a disability, ADHD can have lifelong effects. Learn more about the potential impacts of ADHD on adults and children and resources that can help.


ADHD and depression

If you or your child has ADHD, you’re more likely to have depression as well. In fact, the rate of major depression in children with ADHD is more than five times higher [4] than in children without ADHD. Up to 31 percent [5] of adults with ADHD have been found to also have depression.


This may feel like an unfair double whammy, just know that treatments are available for both conditions. The treatments often overlap. Talk therapy can help treat both conditions. Also, certain antidepressants, such as bupropion, can sometimes help ease ADHD symptoms.


Of course, having ADHD doesn’t warrant that you’ll have depression, but it’s important to know it’s a possibility. Find out more about the link between ADHD and depression.


Tips for coping with ADHD

If you or your child is diagnosed with ADHD, a regular schedule with structure and consistent expectations may be helpful. For adults, using lists, setting up a calendar, and gentle reminders are good ways to help you manage and stay organized. For children, it can be helpful to focus on writing down homework assignments and keeping everyday items, such as toys and backpacks, in assigned spots.


Learning more about the disorder in general can also help you learn how to manage it. Organizations like Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder or the Attention Deficit Disorder Association provide support for management as well as the latest research.


Your doctor can provide more guidance in ways to manage your ADHD symptoms. Here are tips for helping your child with ADHD manage daily tasks and activities, from getting ready for school in the morning to applying for college.



For children and adults, untreated ADHD can have a serious impact on your life. It can affect school, work, and relationships. Treatment is important to lessen the effects of the condition.


But it’s still important to keep in mind that many people with ADHD enjoy fulfilling and successful lives. Some even tout the benefits of the condition.


If you think you or your child may have ADHD, your first step should be talking to your doctor. They can help determine if ADHD is a factor for you or your child. Your doctor can help you create a treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms and live well with ADHD.


Healthily written, prettily disseminated

Inattentive type of ADHD doesn’t mean high mobility frequency. The individual may not heed to the person talking, daydreaming frequently, or being distracted. Low attention span is one of the main causes of Type 1 ADHD and a concern for personal development. See the doctor.


Symptoms of ADHD tend to drop as the child matures to adulthood. At a young age, misdiagnosis is not an uncommon problem. See your doctor if you think the otherwise. Review which natural remedies can alleviate your concerns regarding the disorder.


There are 14 signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) make you better understand, find out the relevant topics to progress in development, and structure a plan with your doctor to nurture your child.


Factual reviews on ADHD is only based on diagnosis. Not assumption should be the outcome of any test result. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to manage ADHD or ADD. Topics on ADHD is recommended to be available during early parenting education.


Every individual encounters ADHD differently. Not two patients will feel, think, or react in the same manner even under the same evaluation of behaviors. The doctor, together with a panel of specialists, will assess the current condition and make adjustments to the patient’s outlook.


ADHD or ADD must not impact you or your child’s personal development. People with ADHD are not discouraged over natural means, and your life is determined by your choice. Diagnosis, observations, or reporting can only do so much. The rest of them is up to you or your child’s decision.


No matter what, diagnoses of ADHD don’t mean the end of the world. There’re success stories of physical disabilities, personal and family problems, and even people with ADHD. Your life, your story – Healthaon, 2020.


Reference List:

[1] Trusted Source, “A common genetic factor explains the covariation among ADHD ODD and CD symptoms in 9–10 year old boys and girls”, Journal List – HHS Author manuscripts: PMC2634815, 02 February 2009.

[2] Trusted Source, “Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Trends in the Parent-Report of Health Care Provider-Diagnosis and Medication Treatment for ADHD: United States”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), 2003–2011.

[3] Trusted Source, “Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy and offspring attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a prospective sibling control study.”, US National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health, 01 October 2017.

[4] Trusted Source, “My Child Has Been Diagnosed with ADHD – Now What?”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 08 October 2019.

[5] Trusted Source, “Psychometric Properties of ADHD Symptoms in Toddlers.”, US National Library of Medicine – National Institute of Health, July 2020.

[6] Trusted Source, “Everything You Need to Know About ADHD”, ADHD Health Topics, 13 June 2019.


  1. Brandon (Seah)
  2. Betty S. Lake

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