Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD, which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is often diagnosed in early childhood. Individuals with ADHD may experience difficulty paying attention, sitting still, or controlling impulsive behaviors. ADHD can affect individuals’ lives from childhood to adulthood and may interfere with one’s school, work, family, friendships, or all of the above. ADHD is diagnosed by medical professionals and most commonly treated with behavioral therapy and medication. ADHD is proven to occur more often in males than in females. ADHD is categorized in three different subgroups: Predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, and combined presentation.
While the cause of ADHD is unknown, current research shows that genetics plays a significant role in the causation of ADHD. Additional risk factors include environmental toxin exposure during pregnancy (especially to lead), prenatal alcohol consumption, drug abuse, smoking, brain injury, low birthweight, and premature birth.
Symptoms for ADHD include:
Difficulty paying attention
Inability to control impulses
Frequent squirming or fidgeting
ADHD is most commonly treated with behavioral therapy and psychostimulant medication. Individuals with ADHD can benefit from social skills training and talk therapy with a trained health care professional, and parents and families can benefit from parenting skills training and family talk therapy. Close relationships with family and healthcare professionals are strongly advised.
ADHD can be minimized by mothers during pregnancy by avoiding any substance or activity harmful to the fetus, including pollutants and toxins such as cigarette smoke and lead paint, alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs. Eating a healthy diet, exercising daily, getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, and limiting screen time can also help prevent and manage ADHD.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, January 26). What is ADHD? https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, June 25). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/adhd/symptoms-causes/syc-20350889