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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, can make it hard to pay attention or complete a task. Some people with ADHD often feel restless and have trouble sitting still, or often act without thinking first. For people with ADHD, these behaviors can cause problems at home, on the job, and in social situations.
There are three types of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive type – A person has trouble paying attention and is easily distracted
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type – A person has trouble sitting still; also, acts without considering the outcome of such action
- Combined type – A person shows both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms
Symptoms of ADHD often show up in early childhood. Many, and perhaps most, children with ADHD continue to have symptoms into their adult years. Some people with ADHD become adults without ever having been diagnosed with the disorder. They often just feel that it's impossible to get organized, stick to a job, or keep an appointment. Being diagnosed with ADHD can bring a sense of relief to some adults because it helps them understand the reasons for their problems. And, with help, they can begin to face them.
No one knows exactly what causes ADHD. It tends to run in families, and many studies suggest that genes play a large role.
Although ADHD has no cure, medicines can help control symptoms. The medicines that appear to work the best are drugs called stimulants. Adults with ADHD can also benefit from therapy or having a "life coach." The coach can help you learn how to organize your life by using "props." These might include lists, reminder notes, date books, and a large calendar to keep track of important dates and meetings.
Explore other publications and websites
AD/HD and Adults (Copyright © Mental Health America) — Many symptoms of attention deficit hpyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can continue into adulthood. This publication discusses ADHD in adults, including information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) — This detailed booklet describes the symptoms, causes, and treatments of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It also provides information on getting help and coping.
Employees With Learning Disabilities (Copyright © Job Accommodation Network) — This publication provides basic information for employers on how to accommodate an employee with a learning disability. It also provides examples of workplace accommodations for employees with various types of learning disabilities.
NINDS Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder Information Page — This online publication explains ADHD, available treatments, prognosis, and current research being conducted.
NINDS Learning Disabilities Information Page — This online publication defines learning disabilities and provides information on treatment, prognosis, and current research. It also provides resources and organizations.
Connect with other organizations
Attention Deficit Disorder Association
Attention Deficit Disorder Resources
Children and Adults With Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
Feingold Association of the United States
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Mental Health America
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC
National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, HHS
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
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