What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a common developmental condition that is classified by a pattern of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. It is now more widely understood that ADHD is lifelong.

While many people, especially children, may have trouble sitting and focusing for long periods of time, the symptoms of ADHD affect people academically, socially, professionally, and in every aspect of their lives.
Scientists aren’t completely certain what causes ADHD, but recent research has shown that it involves an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are what carry messages to and from the brain cells to enable the body to function internally and interact with the world outside. This imbalance impairs communication within one or more of the four regions of the brain, causing problems with attention, organisation, emotion, or impulsivity and executive functions.
There are many other factors that have been linked to ADHD. ADHD exhibits a strong genetic contribution, so if someone in your family has ADHD, there’s a significant chance that other members in your family may have ADHD as well.
The three core symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Adults with ADHD will find themselves misplacing personal items frequently and having trouble finishing a project they started (inattention); constantly feeling restless and talking too much at social events (hyperactivity); making impulsive purchases, interrupting people when they’re talking, and having trouble standing in long lines (impulsivity). Only a healthcare professional can diagnose someone with ADHD, so having some of these symptoms does not immediately classify you as having ADHD. Speak to your GP if suspect that you may have ADHD.

Dr. Raun Melmed runs the Melmed Centre in the USA. He specialises in ADHD and ASD. Dr. Melmed issued a very strong statement that if doctors are prescribing ADHD medications without also prescribing other supports such as coaching, they are using the medications off-label, and illegally, because the pharmaceutical companies now clearly state that the medications alone are not enough. He sees the clinics of the future including not just diagnosticians, but care-coordinators, professional organisers, and ADHD coaches. (ACO Conference 2014).

Find out more, check out these books on ADHD from Focus with Faigy here.

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