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

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Many ADHD symptoms are commonly seen during normal childhood.

ADHD or ADD Symptoms

Symptoms related to inattention include trouble paying attention in school or work, the appearance of not listening, failing to complete assigned tasks, avoidance of activities that require sustained focus, losing things, and being easily distracted. Symptoms related to hyperactivity include restlessness, fidgeting, interrupting, frequent talking, intrusiveness, trouble paying attention, and trying to do multiple things at once.

Children and adults with ADHD may also have symptoms like insomnia, low tolerance for frustration, poor self-image, forgetfulness, disorganization, mood swings, and "hyperfocus," a tendency to intensely focus on one task or event that precludes focus on other necessary tasks.

Quick GuideADHD Symptoms in Children

ADHD Symptoms in Children

ADD or ADHD in children (childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) facts

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental-health condition. Childhood ADHD symptoms include
  • While there is no specific cause of ADHD, there are many social, biological, and environmental factors that may raise one's risk of developing or being diagnosed with the disorder.
  • There are three types of ADHD: predominately inattentive, predominately hyperactive/impulsive, and combined (inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive) presentation.
  • While medications are commonly used in the treatment of ADHD, behavioral therapy, school accommodations, and parent counseling 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 some form of the disorder in adulthood.
  • People with ADHD are at a higher risk for also having anxiety, depression, mood swings, drug or alcohol abuse issues, interpersonal problems, school problems during childhood, as well as legal and employment problems during adolescence and 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 the definition of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? ADD vs. ADHD

What's the difference between ADD and ADHD?

ADHD, formerly called ADD, refers to a mental-health condition called attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. People with ADD (ADHD) have problems with impulse control, excessive activity, and/or distractibility. 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 assigned the diagnosis at some point during their childhood. Health professionals tend to diagnose boys with ADHD in children 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 the types of ADHD (ADD)?

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Predominately hyperactive/impulsive
  • Predominately inattentive
  • Combined presentation (impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Children's Health & Parenting Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors