The Basics: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — also referred to ADD or ADHD — is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Symptoms can continue into adolescence and adulthood. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to poor school/work performance, poor social relationships and a general feeling of low self-esteem. ADHD is an increasingly diagnosed problem of America’s youth. Many people are surprised to learn that ADHD can develop in the college years.
Three main traits characterize ADHD: difficulty sustaining attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
You Should Know
Attention-deficit disorders affect approximately 3-5% of children. It is estimated that more than half of all cases have symptoms that carry into adulthood. Nearly 8% of 18 – 29 year olds have ADHD.
While ADHD will not cause other mental health problems, people with ADHD are more likely to have other conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Adults with ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, and employment. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions.
Signs and Symptoms
The American Psychiatric Association defines a person as having ADHD when eight or more of the following are present over a long period. Since most children and adults will, at times, display the characteristics listed below, a true attention deficit disorder is measured by the degree and impact these behaviors present in the life of the child or adult.
- Failure to give close attention to details
- Failure to finish tasks
- Does not seem to listen
- Difficulty sustaining attention
- Difficulty concentrating on school or work or other tasks
- Inability to follow through on instructions
- Acts before thinking
- Loses things necessary for tasks
- Difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Flits from one activity to another
- Talks impulsively and interrupts or intrudes on others
- Has difficulty taking turns
- Irresponsible risk taking behavior
- Blurts out answers before questions are complete
- Tendency to anger easily
- Difficulty remaining seated and sitting still
- Fidgets with hands or feet
- Difficulty awaiting turn
- Always on the go
Sources used in this article: "Prevalence, Recognition, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in a National Sample of US Children"
- College and Drinking: Things to Keep in Mind
- Dealing with Setbacks
- Finding Help Off Campus
- Finding Help On Campus
- Getting Help
- Keep Stress in Check
- Medical Leave of Absence
- Mental Health Conditions: Privacy and Telling Others
- Preventing Suicide
- The Basics: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- The Basics: Bipolar Disorder
- The Basics: Alcohol and Drug Dependence and Abuse
- The Basics: Anxiety Disorders
- The Basics: Depression
- The Basics: Eating Disorders
- The Basics: Schizophrenia
- The Basics: Self-Injury (Cutting)
- The Negative Effects of Stress
- Three Important Guidelines for Transitioning with a Diagnosed Condition
- Transferring Treatment to College
- Types of Mental Health Professionals
- What Every Student Needs to Know
- Who Will Struggle with Mental Illness?
- Your First Counseling Appointment: Questions to Ask