Conditions InDepth: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
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Conditions InDepth: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Main Page | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Screening | Reducing Your Risk | Talking to Your Doctor | Living With ADHD | Resource Guide

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic behavioral disorder of childhood onset (by age seven). ADHD affects children, adolescents, and adults and is characterized by behavior that is hyperactive, impulsive, or inattentive. There are several different types of ADHD. Some children are primarily inattentive and don't display signs of hyperactivity (classic attention deficit disorder—ADD). Others, however, are hyperactive and/or impulsive. The rest exhibit a mixture of these symptoms.

The cause of ADHD is not known at this time, but brain chemistry, genetics, and environmental factors may all play roles in the development ADHD.

It is estimated that between 3%-5% of Americans have ADHD. Between 30%-70% of children with ADHD will continue to experience troubles related to their disorder into adulthood.

Because so many cases of ADHD are diagnosed in childhood, the information provided here is geared toward children.

What are the risk factors for ADHD?
What are the symptoms of ADHD?
How is ADHD diagnosed?
What are the treatments for ADHD?
Are there screening tests for ADHD?
How can I reduce my (or my child’s) risk of ADHD?
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?
What is it like to live with ADHD?
Where can I get more information about ADHD?


ADHD. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: . Accessed March 31, 2007.

Adult ADHD. Attention Deficit Disorder Association website. Available at: . Accessed March 31, 2007.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: . Accessed March 31, 2007.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder website. Available at: . Accessed March 31, 2007.

Last reviewed April 2007 by Janet Greenhut, MD, MPH

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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