What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD ?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a common childhood behavioral disorder affecting the child’s ability to focus, organize and complete a task. They often act impulsively without thinking and are easily distracted. Though this type of behavior is common among children what differentiate ADHD from normal children by the persistence of symptoms and affects the child’s academic and social life. The primary symptoms of ADHD are inattention (lack of focus), hyper activeness (restlessness) and impulsiveness. The degree of symptoms varies from child to child but depending on the dominating indications ADHD is classified as Predominately Inattentive, Predominately hyperactive, or Combined.

Symptoms of ADHD

The primary symptoms of ADHD are
Inattention: Here, mainly children lack focus on completing tasks and appear daydreaming. The children may be:

  • Highly distracted
  • Forgetful or Absentminded
  • Does not pay attention to his/her work making too many mistakes
  • Has trouble focusing and gets sidetracked easily
  • Has difficulty in following instructions
  • Misplaces or loses things easily
  • Does not like to do tasks which require concentration

Hyperactivity – or restlessness. Here

  • The child is constantly moving or fidgeting and cannot sit still
  • Cannot wait for his turn to play or answer questions
  • Interrupts others constantly
  • Appear very restless, their hands or feet are always in motion
  • Cannot play quietly
  • Gets anger easily
  • They keep jumping from one activity to another
  • Gets bored quickly

Impulsiveness – Here the child

  • Lacks self-control
  • Has trouble for awaiting his turn
  • Mood swings
  • Do not have emotional restraint

Causes for ADHD

The exact cause for ADHD is not known though there are many theories. The risk factors are

  • Genetic- it has been noticed that ADHD runs in family, hence it is suspected that genes play a role
  • Low Birthweight or Premature birth
  • Maternal factors like smoking or drinking during pregnancy
  • A hypoxic condition during childbirth
  • Environmental factors like exposure to Lead, Mercury
  • Dietary issues like few protein deficiencies, certain food additives, etc.


There are no single diagnostic tests for ADHD. It is based on analysis and assessment of a child’s behavior pattern, cognitive skills and development by trained doctors or psychologists depending on the persistence of symptoms, age of the child and symptom severity.