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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks. It may begin in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. It is implicated in learning disorders and estimated to affect 5-10% of school-aged children.
The exact cause is not clear, but ADHD tends to run in families.
Three types of symptoms for ADHD
- Trouble paying attention– People with ADHD are easily distracted and have a hard time focusing on any one task.
- Trouble sitting still for even a short time– Children with ADHD may squirm, fidget or run around at the wrong times. Teens and adults often feel restless and fidgety and are not able to enjoy reading or other quiet activities.
- Acting before thinking- People with ADHD may talk too loud, laugh too loud or become angrier than the situation calls for. Children may not be able to wait for their turn to share. Teens and adults seem to “leap before they look”. They may make quick decisions that have a long-term impact on their lives. They may spend too much money or change jobs often.
ADHD is often diagnosed when a child is between 6 and 12 years old. Teachers may be the first to notice symptoms in children at this age group. There is no cure for ADHD but treatment may help to control the symptoms. Doctors may prescribe medications, which appear to have a calming effect on children with the disorder. These drugs sometimes have unpleasant side effects, such as sleep disturbances, depression, headache, stomach ache, loss of appetite and stunted growth.
ADHD in Adults
Many adults don’t realize that they have ADHD until their children are diagnosed. Then they begin to notice their own symptoms. Adults with ADHD may find it hard to focus, organize and finish tasks. They often forget things but they are also often very creative and curious.