Skip to main content

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder that affects children and adults of all ages. While ADHD is typically diagnosed during childhood, many adults struggle with undiagnosed ADHD for years before seeking help.

Characterized by scattered focus, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and more, ADHD affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain — the area responsible for planning and decision-making.

What are the symptoms of ADHD?


Your ADHD symptoms can vary depending on your age, sex, and the type of ADHD you have. There are three main types of ADHD: inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined type.


Inattentive type


You may have inattentive ADHD if you experience one or more of the following symptoms for more than five months (or six months if you’re under the age of 17):

  • Not paying close attention to details
  • Easily distracted
  • Struggling to follow instructions
  • Problems staying on task
  • Disorganization
  • Avoiding tasks that require extra mental effort
  • Forgetfulness
  • Trouble paying attention during conversation

Hyperactive/impulsive type


If you experience one or more of the following symptoms for more than five months (or six if you’re under the age of 17), you may have hyperactive/impulsive ADHD:

  • Struggling to stay seated
  • Constant fidgeting
  • Talking excessively
  • Loud voice/blurts in class
  • Frequently interrupting others
  • Struggling to relax quietly

Combined type


Any combination of the above inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms is considered combined ADHD.


It’s important to note that ADHD symptoms often go unnoticed in girls, as they’re less likely to be noticeably hyperactive. Instead, many girls seem more “zoned out” or often daydream in class or at work.


How is ADHD treated?




Some of the most common medications to treat ADHD in adults and children are central nervous system stimulants like Adderall®, Desoxyn®, and Ritalin®. Other non-stimulant medications include Strattera® and Qelbree®.




Behavior therapy can help you or your child change the way you respond to certain situations, tasks, and responsibilities. While there are many ways to conduct behavior therapy, one of the most common in children with ADHD is to implement a reward system for positive behavior and completed tasks.


Psychotherapy gives you or your child the opportunity to open up about coping with ADHD. This type of therapy is especially effective at changing behavior patterns toward adults and authority figures.


Social skills training


ADHD often affects your ability to form meaningful, long-lasting friendships. Social skills training can help you or your child play and work better with others. It can also help you learn to respond to certain situations with more appropriate behaviors, such as waiting for your turn and asking for help.


Without a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, ADHD can negatively impact your ability to enjoy school, hold a steady job, and form long-term relationships with others.

Skip to content