ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. People with ADHD may be overly active, or may have trouble focusing and controlling impulses. A 2016 study estimates that 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults have ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (difficulty maintaining focus, difficulty with organization, forgetfulness), hyperactivity (excess physical movement, fidgeting, trouble with interrupting, etc) and impulsivity (acting without forethought, difficulty negotiating urges).
The cause of ADHD is unknown, but there is some evidence that genetics may contribute to this condition, as it is common that persons with ADHD will also have a relative with the disorder. National Health Services states that people who were born prematurely, who have epilepsy, or who have suffered early brain damage may be at risk of developing ADHD. Diagnosis for adults relies on self-reported monitoring of symptoms via a checklist as well as medical examination to rule out other conditions. For children the process is similar, but relies on systems of checklists and gathering information from parents, teachers, and other relevant community or family members, in addition to medical and behavioral examinations.
Experts recommend a combination of therapy and prescribed medicine to be the most effective management system for symptoms of ADHD. Many of the drugs prescribed to treat these symptoms are stimulants, designed to increase activity in the brain in those areas ADHD affects most, the centres of behavior and attention. These medicines can have severe side effects however, such as decreased appetite, mood swings, increased blood pressure, trouble sleeping, etc. Behavioral therapy and family education are important supplements in an effective symptom-management plan.
Some children, teens, or adults with ADHD may experience symptoms of other conditions alongside ADHD such as: anxiety disorder, depression, sleep problems, autistic spectrum disorder, or learning disabilities such as dyslexia.