Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children (ADHD in Children or
Childhood ADHD)

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ADHD in children facts

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental-health condition that has characteristics of difficulty concentrating, controlling impulses, and/or excessive activity.
  • Though there is no particular cause of ADHD, there are many social, biological, environmental factors that may raise one's risk of developing the disorder.
  • There are three kinds of ADHD: predominately inattentive type, predominately hyperactive/impulsive type, and the combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) type.
  • While medications are often prominent in the treatment of ADHD, behavioral treatments are important in improving the child's ability to function as well.
  • The most common medications used to treat ADHD are the stimulant medications.
  • About 85% of children with ADHD are at risk for having the disorder in adulthood.
  • Much of the latest research on ADHD in children focuses on how exposure to environmental toxins may increase the risk of developing this condition.

What is ADHD?

ADHD, also often called ADD, refers to a mental-health condition called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. People with ADHD have problems with impulse control, excessive activity, and/or concentration. Statistics show that up to 7% of children and teens are thought to suffer from this disorder at any time, with up to 11% of children being given the diagnosis at some point during their childhood. Physicians diagnose boys with this condition at a rate of more than twice that of girls. That is thought to be at least partly due to the diagnosis in girls being missed because of gender differences in ADHD symptoms.

What are risk factors and causes of ADHD in children?

Although there is no single cause for ADHD, there are a number of biological, environmental and social factors that seem to increase the risk of a person developing the disorder. Brain imaging studies show that the brains of people with ADHD tend to be smaller, the connections between certain parts of the brain are fewer, and the regulation of the neurochemical dopamine tends to be less than in people who have the disorder.

Risk factors for ADHD that can occur in the womb include maternal stress, as well as smoking during pregnancy and low weight at birth. Being male and having a family history of ADHD increase the likelihood that an individual is diagnosed with ADHD. Socially, low family income and low paternal education are risk factors for developing ADHD.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/28/2014

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ADHD in Children - Diagnosis Question: How did physicians diagnose ADHD in your child?
ADHD in Children - Symptoms and Signs Question: What ADHD symptoms and signs does your child have?
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Many of the symptoms of ADHD are also symptoms seen during normal childhood.

Tips for Parents About ADHD Medications

The medications used to treat ADHD are psychoactive. This means they affect the chemistry and the function of the brain.

Psychostimulants are by far the most widely used medications in treating ADHD.