What are ADD and ADHD?
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are a type of mental health condition that is a combination of problems that may include hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention, and impulsive behavior. ADHD is one of the most common disorders of childhood, being diagnosed in early childhood and lasting in adulthood. Hyperactivity symptoms are almost always visible by the age of 7, and attention-deficit symptoms show up during elementary school.
What are the symptoms of ADD/ADHD?
It is commonplace for children to have issues with focusing and behaving. But children with ADHD do not outgrow these behaviors. Symptoms of ADHD are classified into 3 categories: impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity.
Adult ADHD symptoms include:
- Problems focusing on a task
- Poor planning
- Low frustration tolerance
- Frequent mood swings
- Trouble multitasking
- Excessive activity or restlessness
- Disorganization and problems prioritizing
- Poor time management skills
- Problems following through and completing tasks
- Hot temper
- Trouble coping with stress
What are the causes of ADD/ADHD?
The exact cause of ADHD is not clear, but research efforts are continuing. It is one of the most researched areas in adolescent mental health. Most evidence suggests that it is genetic.
While genetics seem to be the most pliable cause, other possible risk factors are being researched by scientists:
- Brain injury
- Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
- Exposure to environmental risks (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age
- Low birth weight
- Premature delivery
Can any complications arise if left untreated?
If left unaddressed or untreated in adulthood, ADHD has been linked to:
- Trouble with the law
- Alcohol or other substance misuse
- Frequent car accidents or other accidents
- Unstable relationships
- Poor self-image
What medications treat ADD/ADHD?
Most of the time, ADHD is successfully treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy.
Common medications may include
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - CDC
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children - Johns Hopkins
Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - Mayo Clinic