Psychiatry

What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, as characterized by inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity behavior(s).

Inattention

Inattention describes challenges in concentrating and paying attention to detail. Youth are diagnosed as inattentive if six (or more) of the following symptoms have been present for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with development level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities:

  • Regularly makes careless mistakes in schoolwork or other tasks
  • Has difficulty staying focused
  • Does not seem to listen when spoken to
  • Fails to finish work
  • Has trouble organizing tasks
  • Avoids or dislikes tasks that require maintaining attention
  • Often loses or misplaces things
  • Becomes easily distracted
  • Forgetful

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity

Hyperactivity-Impulsivity describes a person who has trouble sitting still, with very high energy levels. Youth are diagnosed with hyperactivity-impulsivity if six (or more) of the following symptoms have been present for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with development level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities:

  • Fidgets or squirms
  • Often gets out of seat
  • Runs or climbs on things when inappropriate
  • Complains of feeling restless
  • Does not play quietly
  • Often “on the go”
  • Talks excessively
  • Gives answer without listening to entire question
  • Has difficulty waiting turn
  • Interrupts or intrudes on others
  • Symptoms present prior to age 12
  • Symptoms are present in two or more settings
  • Clear evidence that symptoms interfere with overall functioning

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