Millions of Americans Have ADHD: Here's How to Tell if You Do


ADHD, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a mental disorder that is most often found in children but is sometimes also prevalent in adults. According to The A.D.D. Resource Center, 6.4 million American children between the ages of four and seventeen have been diagnosed with ADHD.

Identifying ADHD in a child can be frustrating and difficult, and teachers and parents often misidentify their actions as “bad behavior”. Recognizing a few telltale signs may be useful in getting the correct treatment for your child.

So, what exactly is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can make an impact on behavior, concentration, emotions, and learning styles. It is diagnosed in three forms: inattentive type, hyperactive/impulsive type, or combined type. A medical professional will diagnose with one of these classifications based on the symptoms the person displays.

What are some common ADHD symptoms?

Usually, kids with ADHD find it difficult to concentrate and sit still, causing them to struggle in school. Their lack of focus makes their mind wander and they end up spending their time daydreaming. Several children with ADHD also display no restraints or self-control, which can lead to them hitting, teasing, or destroying other people’s property without intending to. Adults who are diagnosed with ADHD later in life can also experience these symptoms and may recognize them from their childhood.

A medical evaluation including vision and hearing screening, along with a checklist and information gathered from parents and teachers, are the only way for professionals to rule out other medical problems and diagnose ADHD. There are no scans or lab tests that can diagnose it. Below are some of the symptoms displayed in children with inattentive or hyperactive ADHD; if your child shows symptoms from both lists, they may have a combined type.

Inattentive Type (five or more symptoms occur frequently):

  • Has difficulty staying focused on activities, conversations, and other tasks that require concentration for an extended amount of time; is easily distracted
  • Dislikes and avoids doing tasks that require sustained mental effort such as homework
  • May start doing schoolwork, homework, or chores, but loses focus and doesn’t complete them
  • Seems to be daydreaming, or not listening, when spoken to
  • Makes careless mistakes and doesn’t pay close attention to detail
  • Is often disorganized, cannot manage time well, and misses deadlines
  • Often loses things used daily such as eyeglasses, school books, cell phone, etc.
  • Hyperactive/ Impulsive Type (five or more symptoms occur frequently):
  • Constantly talking
  • No restraint in a conversation; for example, blurting out an answer before a question has been asked completely or finishing other people’s sentences
  • Intruding on others by cutting into conversations, playing out of turn during games or activities, using other people’s things without permission, or even completely taking over something someone else is doing
  • Unable to stay seated; always “on the go” as if they have an endless supply of energy
  • When they are seated, they are often squirming or fidgeting with their hands and feet
  • Unable to play or enjoy leisurely activities quietly
  • Climbs things or runs around when inappropriate
  • Has difficulty waiting for their turn such as when they are playing games or waiting in line
  • Treating ADHD With Medication

After a complete evaluation, your medical care professional may diagnose you or your child with ADHD. Often, meeting with an ADHD expert or a counselor can play an important role in your diagnosis and controlling your symptoms, especially since it can make a huge impact on your emotional health.

One of the first treatments that ADHD experts and doctors recommend is medication. Depending on your individual case, you may be prescribed a stimulant, a nonstimulant, an antidepressant, or a combination of these so that your disorder can be managed efficiently. Other alternative or more natural approaches include an intake of vitamins and minerals, a clean diet, exercise, and meditation.

Left untreated, ADHD can take a drastic toll on your quality of life and can affect all aspects of it such as school or work, but also your personal relationships and self-esteem. Talk to your doctor today if you feel that you or your loved one may have ADHD, and take the first step toward a better, improved life. 


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