Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


This is a common disorder of childhood. It affects behavior. It can cause problems with social interactions. It can cause problems with learning. A person who has ADHD may have these problems throughout life.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of ADHD is not fully understood. It may result from a combination of factors. Genetics may play a role. Children who have relatives with ADHD or certain mental health disorders may have a higher risk for this disorder. Environmental factors may play a role as well. Children who are exposed to toxins such as lead may have an increased risk for ADHD. Children may have a higher risk if they are exposed to alcohol or drugs while in the womb. They may have a higher risk if they were born prematurely or with a low birth weight. And, ADHD is more common in boys.


Symptoms include constant fidgeting and trouble paying attention. Children who have ADHD may have a hard time following directions. They may have trouble waiting their turn. They may not finish schoolwork. They may be very talkative and impulsive. They may not play well with others. They may be forgetful and easily distracted, and they may be prone to daydreaming.


Treatment options include medications, therapy and counseling. A team approach can be helpful. Parents, teachers, counselors and physicians can work together to help a child learn to manage ADHD.