ADHD Overview

Some say it’s over-diagnosed.  A few claim it’s a hoax invented by the drug companies.  But ADHD is quite real, and only through objective recognition of symptoms and prompt diagnosis can those affected children, adolescents, and adults receive the treatment they need to reach their full potential and lead healthy, happy, and successful lives.

Difficulty paying attention in class is
a prominent symptom of ADHD

Read on in this guide to learn more about ADHD, including background information, what causes (and doesn’t cause) ADHD, symptoms, and treatment.  You may also start off by taking the interactive ADHD symptom questionnaire.

Here is a brief overview of what you will find in this guide:

Section Key Points
What is ADHD?
  • A medical disorder of development causing easy distractibility, inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity
  • Affects 3-7% of US children, with up to 70% continuing to have symptoms into adulthood
What causes ADHD?
  • Neurotransmitter imbalance in the prefrontal and other areas of the brain
  • A combination of genetics and environmental factors
  • ADHD is not caused by “bad parenting”
  • ADHD is not caused by eating sugary foods or any other dietary factors
ADHD Symptoms and Diagnosis
  • Symptoms: distractibility, forgetfulness, inattention to present tasks, inability to sit still or refrain from jumping and climbing, reports of bad behavior at school, discipline at work due to inefficiency or disorganization, socially inappropriate or irresponsible behavior
  • Diagnosis: based on symptom history; must be evaluated by a medical professional to distinguish ADHD from other disorders with similar symptoms
ADHD Treatment
  • Psychosocial counseling, behavior modification, and/or a specially tailored learning / work environments
  • Medical treatment (see below)
ADHD Medications
  • Stimulants and stimulant-like drugs – commonly used and highly effective; some side effects (decreased appetite, insomnia, etc.), but generally well tolerated
  • Antidepressant medications – often used in cases where stimulants have been ineffective or could not be used due to side effects


Email Icon Print Icon Print This| Newsletter Icon Free Newsletter| Add to