What is ADHD?

It is a condition that affects the areas of the brain that help us control impulses, concentrate and organize. ADHD can be treated with medicine, therapy and other support.

ADHD is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of American children. Approximately 11 percent of children ages 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S., as of 2012. Boys (13.2%) were more likely than girls (5.6%) to be diagnosed.

It is normal for all children to struggle with staying focused at times, especially under the age of 5. Children with ADHD, however, do not grow out of these behaviors. Symptoms continue, or even worsen, as children with ADHD enter their school years, which often results in trouble at school and at home.

Often diagnosed in childhood, ADHD lasts into adulthood. The most difficult time is early childhood, when children have yet to develop the maturity and special tricks that will help them keep on task as adults.

What causes ADHD?

Scientists still do not know exactly what causes ADHD. Some risk factors that have been implicated by research include:

  • Genetics
  • Brain injury
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Prenatal drug and alcohol exposure
  • Environmental toxins (e.g. lead exposure)

Learn more about these ADHD topics: