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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) is a condition affecting the brain. It affects how people think and act. People with ADHD usually have problems with focusing and remembering what is said or done around them. They may also have extra trouble sitting still or being quiet.

Because ADHD affects how people's nerves develop, it is called a neurological developmental disorder.[1][2][3] Almost everyone with ADHD gets it from their parents when they are born.[4]

Experts think that throughout the entire world, about one in twenty children (5%) has ADHD. Some countries have more ADHD than others, and not everyone uses the same tests. Psychologists have found more people with ADHD in North America than in Africa and the Middle East.[5] In the United States, about one in every fourteen children has ADHD (7%), including one in every ten boys (10%) and one in every twenty-five girls (4%).[6] This could be because more boys get ADHD, or because fewer girls take ADHD tests.[7][8]

ADHD is most common in children, but many adults have ADHD, too. A little less than half of children with ADHD get better when they become adults.[9]

Most people who have ADHD also have other mental disorders, most often oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, dyslexia, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorders (especially obsessive-compulsive disorder), mood disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders and personality disorders (especially antisocial, borderline, histrionic, passive-aggressive and avoidant).

Signs and symptoms

  • They can get distracted easily when listening
  • They can have difficulty when focusing
  • They can get bored after a few minutes unless it's something they enjoy
  • They can have difficulty when organizing or completing a task, homework, assignments, and by handing in tasks
  • They can often lose items or forget about them
  • They do not seem to listen when they are spoken to
  • They can daydream, become confused easily, and not move fast
  • They have difficulty taking information quickly or correctly
  • They seem to struggle when following instructions

Further reading


  1. LONI: Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
  2. NINDS Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Information Page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH) February 9, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-08-13.
  3. Dr. Russell A. Barkley Official Site, Authority ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  4. International Consensus Statement on ADHD, January 2002
  5. Polanczyk G, de Lima MS, Horta BL, Biederman J, Rohde LA (2007). "The worldwide prevalence of ADHD: a systematic review and metaregression analysis". Am J Psychiatry 164 (6): 942–48. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.164.6.942 . PMID 17541055 . 
  6. "National Health Interview survey, 2002"PDF (3.71 MB). Centers for Disease Control (March, 2004). Retrieved on December 11, 2006.
  7. Staller J, Faraone SV. (2006) "Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in girls: epidemiology and management." CNS Drugs. 2006;20(2):107–23. PMID 16478287
  8. Biederman J, Faraone SV. (2004) "The Massachusetts General Hospital studies of gender influences on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in youth and relatives." Psychiatr Clin North Am. Jun;27(2):225–32. PMID 15063995
  9. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder: ADHD in Adults. Retrieved on December 11, 2006.