Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)?

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and distractedness. An estimated 9.5% of children ages 4-17 in the U.S (around 5.4 million) had been given a diagnosis of ADHD as of 2007. Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disorder.

There are three types of ADHD: a predominantly inattentive subtype, a predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype, and a combined subtype. ADHD is usually diagnosed in childhood, although the condition typically continues, and sometimes is diagnosed for the first time, in the adult years.

How is ADHD diagnosed?

If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a professional with training in ADHD. This includes child psychiatrists, psychologists, developmental/behavioral pediatricians, behavioral neurologists, and clinical social workers. After ruling out other possible reasons for the child’s behavior, the specialist checks the child’s school and medical records and talks to teachers and parents who have filled out a behavior rating scale for the child.

Is ADHD even a real disorder, since most children show some of the symptoms some of the time?

While there is not one specific proven test to determine who has ADHD, it is nevertheless a real disorder. ADHD is characterized by a specific constellation of symptoms, functional problems and developmental history that follows predictable patterns. However, the diagnosis should not be assigned casually.

Can a child have an attention deficit and not be hyperactive?

Yes. This is known as ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type. Children with this subtype daydream and have a hard time focusing.

Is there a specific test to diagnose ADHD?

No, there is not one magic test. But professionals qualified in assessing children’s development and behavior will conduct a comprehensive assessment to ascertain whether the individual does indeed have the disorder.

Can ADHD be cured?

ADHD is treatable but treatment is not a cure. The patient will still have ADHD, and symptoms return if treatment is discontinued or interrupted. Recommended treatment includes medication, therapy and some form of behavior modification.

Do people outgrow ADHD?

While it was once thought that ADD was a childhood disorder, it is now believed that for many people, ADHD lasts on into adulthood as well.

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