8 Aug 2023

What is Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) ?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults, leading to difficulties in maintaining attention, controlling impulses, and regulating hyperactivity. Its prevalence has increased over the years, and it is now recognized as a significant mental health concern.

Individuals with ADHD often exhibit symptoms such as inattention, forgetfulness, impulsivity, and restlessness. These symptoms can impact various aspects of life, including academic performance, relationships, and daily functioning. ADHD is believed to arise from a complex interplay of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors.

Diagnosis of ADHD involves a comprehensive assessment by healthcare professionals. Treatment approaches typically include behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and, in some cases, medication. Stimulant medications like methylphenidate and amphetamines are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms.

ADHD is not solely a childhood disorder; many individuals continue to experience its effects into adulthood. However, with appropriate management strategies and support, individuals with ADHD can lead fulfilling lives. Education, awareness, and destigmatization play crucial roles in creating an environment where those with ADHD can thrive.

Symptoms: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by a range of symptoms that can impact an individual's ability to focus, control impulses, and manage hyperactivity. These symptoms are typically divided into two main categories: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. It's important to note that the severity and combination of symptoms can vary widely among individuals with ADHD. Some common symptoms include:


  • Difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or activities, such as schoolwork or work tasks.
  • Frequent careless mistakes in schoolwork or other activities.
  • Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
  • Avoiding or being reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.
  • Often losing items necessary for tasks and activities.
  • Easily distracted by unrelated stimuli.
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities, such as forgetting appointments or responsibilities.


  • Fidgeting or tapping hands or feet while sitting.
  • Inability to remain seated in situations where it's expected.
  • Running or climbing excessively in inappropriate situations.
  • Excessive talking, even when it's not appropriate.
  • Difficulty waiting for one's turn in conversations or activities.
  • Interrupting or intruding on others' conversations or games.
  • Impatience and difficulty delaying gratification.

It's important to remember that the presence of these symptoms doesn't automatically indicate ADHD. Diagnosis should be made by a qualified healthcare professional based on a comprehensive assessment that considers the frequency, duration, and impact of these symptoms on daily functioning. Additionally, the symptoms should not be better explained by other conditions or factors. ADHD can be managed with various approaches, including behavioral interventions, psychoeducation, and in some cases, medication. Early diagnosis and appropriate management strategies can help individuals with ADHD lead more productive and fulfilling lives.

Causes: The exact cause of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors. Genetics play a significant role, as ADHD often runs in families. Brain structure and function differences, particularly in areas related to attention and impulse control, have been observed in individuals with ADHD.

Prevention and Cure: There is no known way to prevent ADHD since its development is influenced by multiple factors. While there is no cure for ADHD, effective management strategies can significantly improve symptoms and quality of life. Behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, and medication are commonly used treatments. Early intervention and tailored support can help individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage their symptoms effectively.

Comorbidity: ADHD often coexists with other conditions, known as comorbidities. Common comorbidities include oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, anxiety disorders, and learning disabilities. Recognizing and addressing these comorbidities is crucial for providing comprehensive and effective treatment.

Prevalence of ADHD in India and the World: The prevalence of ADHD varies across different regions and populations. Globally, ADHD is estimated to affect around 5% of children and 2.5% of adults. In India, the prevalence rates have been reported to be around 5-7% in children. However, due to variations in diagnostic criteria, cultural factors, and awareness, accurate prevalence rates can be challenging to determine.

In conclusion, ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder with multifaceted causes, no known prevention, and no cure. It often coexists with other conditions, underscoring the importance of tailored treatment. The prevalence of ADHD varies, but early intervention and effective management can help individuals lead fulfilling lives.

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