What is ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological condition that impacts the parts of the brain that are involved in the regulation of attention, emotion and executive functioning (e.g., sustained attention, planning, motivation, working memory, sense of time, organization, etc.,). It is well accepted that there is a strong genetic component.

Typical symptoms of ADHD include:   

  • inattention
  • inability to regulate focus
  • challenges with time management
  • difficulty with impulse control
  • difficulty with emotional regulation
  • hyperfocus
  • excessive internal or external activity

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition defines ADHD as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that begins in childhood and interferes with functioning or development. There are three presentations including Inattentive, Hyperactive or Combined types. 

ADHD affects both children and adults and according to Dr. Russell Barkley, a well-respected researcher and contributor in the field, ADHD occurs in approximately 3-7 percent of the childhood population and approximately 2-5 percent of the adult population. 

Many areas of life can be impacted by ADHD including school and work performance, relationships, parenting, managing finances, emotional regulation, risk taking behaviors, driving, etc. 

ADHD has a chronic course which means that it typically lasts throughout a lifetime but can be managed with education about ADHD, behavioral management, social skills training, adult coaching, medication, and skills and strategies to manage symptoms (e.g., motivational techniques, creating functional routines, managing distractions, etc). 

Fact Sheet: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder