ADHD stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It is a disorder that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviors. ADHD does not only affect children, but it can affect adults as well. ADHD is not caused by poor parenting, family problems, moral failures, or excessive sugar. Current research suggests that ADHD may be caused by interactions between genes and environmental or non-genetic factors. Many factors can contribute to ADHD; such as gender, family history, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, exposure to environmental toxins, low birth weight, and brain injuries. There are other mental health conditions that occur in someone who has ADHD. Up to 30% of children and 25%-40% of adults with ADHD have a co-existing anxiety disorder. 70% of them will be treated for depression at some point in their lifetime.

There are three key behaviors of ADHD. Those behaviors include inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Also, these three behaviors can interrupt functioning and/or development. Some signs of inattention in ADHD are having problems sustaining attention, fail to not follow through on instructions, overlooking details, avoid or dislike task, become easily distracted, and being forgetful in daily activities. The signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity include running around, fidgeting, constantly in motion, having trouble waiting, interrupting other, and having trouble playing quietly.

Although there is no cure for ADHD there are some treatments that can help reduce and improve functioning. The current available treatments include medication and behavioral therapy. The types of medication that can be used are stimulants, non-stimulants, and antidepressants. Therapy can be beneficial for people who are living with ADHD. It may not be an effective treatment but it is good for helping patients and families cope. It is also important to be educated on the condition. There are many ways in which someone can be educated. They can go through parenting skills training, stress management techniques and support groups. Also, some school based programs offer special education services. Educational specialist can help teachers make changes to classroom and homework assignments to help the children succeed.

If you are concerned if you or your child might have ADHD you should talk to a health care professional and/or access online screening tools.

Listed below are some online screening tools:

By Brianna Nedd-Rice

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