Last updated: 4 January 2021
What is ADHD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects behaviour and causes the child or young person to be hyperactive, impulsive and/or inattentive. It is usually spotted in childhood.
Hyperactivity is not always the main sign of ADHD. In fact, there are three types of ADHD. This includes:
The inattentive type, where it is very difficult for the child to focus and pay attention to detail. They easily wander off and find it hard to finish tasks and to be organized.
The hyperactive and impulsive type, where it is very difficult for the child to remain calm. They are always on the go, running around, fidgeting, talking a lot and acting in the moment without thinking.
The combined type, where the child has symptoms of both types mentioned above.
It can be easy for children and young people with ADHD to feel out of control and misunderstood. Others who may not understand, can think that they are acting out on purpose. This can make them feel sad and alone and can affect their self-esteem. It is important to support children and young people with ADHD in managing the disorder and preventing problems with their mental health.
Causes of ADHD
The specific cause of ADHD is not known. It is likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, as well as differences in the way the brain works. These are some factors to consider:
Runs in families
Problems at birth (e.g. low birth weight, preterm delivery)
Problems during pregnancy (e.g. smoking, alcohol consumption)
Lead exposure at a young age
ADHD is diagnosed more often in boys than in girls. This is because boys tend to present with more disruptive symptoms and girls with more inattentive symptoms.