Attention difficulties commonly occur in children and adults for various reasons. Sometimes they can be related to mood issues, motivational issues, environmental challenges or physical health issues. But, when there are significant and persistent difficulties, with a combination of inattention, overactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility that impairs functioning or development in multiple settings, this can be attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children and/or adults.
Of children aged 4-17 years of age in the United States, 5.1 million or 8.8%, have a current diagnosis of ADHD, with boys (12.1%) more than twice as likely as girls (5.5%) to have ADHD. Approximately half of children with ADHD continue to have symptoms into adulthood, or 4.4% of adults overall.
The exact cause of the disorder is unknown but research shows that areas of the brain are affected and there is a family/genetic connection. The impact of the disorder includes lower academic performance, increased risk of injury, increased risk of traffic accidents, increased likelihood of smoking, poorer social function and lower self esteem. Treatment can reduce the symptoms of ADHD, but it does not completely eliminate the impact of these complications.
When it comes to ADHD, it’s important to separate the myths vs. the facts. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when thinking about an evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.