Understanding ADHD

What is ADHD?

Woman and Counselor

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder characterized by developmentally inappropriate impulsivity, inattention, and in some cases, hyperactivity.

Everyone has occasional difficulty sitting still, paying attention, or controlling impulsive behavior. For some children and adults, however, the problem is so pervasive and persistent that it interferes with their daily lives at home, at school, at work, and in social settings.

Until recently it was believed that children outgrew ADHD in adolescence. This is because hyperactivity often diminishes during the teen years. However, we now know that many symptoms continue into adulthood. If the disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated, adults with the disorder may experience trouble at work and in relationships, as well as emotional difficulties such as anxiety and depression.

People with ADHD can be very successful in life. But without appropriate identification and treatment, ADHD can have serious consequences, including school failure, depression, conduct disorder, failed relationships, and substance abuse. Early identification and treatment are extremely important.

 Articles with a key are available to CHADD members.
If you are a member, please log in.
If you are not a member, join CHADD today.

HAVE QUESTIONS? We can help. Learn more about the disorder on the CHADD website and at CHADD’s National Resource Center on ADHD. You may also contact us online or by phone (800-233-4050) and a Health Information Specialist will provide a personalized response.

CHADD does not endorse products, services, publications, medications or treatments, including those advertised on this website.