5 Fast Facts About ADHD

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN on March 6, 2021
  • Young Asian American boy staring up close at fidget spinner on table
    ADHD: More Than Difficulty Sitting Still
    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), formerly called attention deficit disorder (ADD), is a medical condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. People with ADHD often have difficulty with memory, concentration, organization, attention and social skills. Approximately 11% of American children ages 4 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Odds are good you know at least one person with ADHD. But how much do you really know about this common condition? Get the facts about ADHD.
  • Young Caucasian boy sitting with black cat looking out window
    1. There’s more than one type of ADHD.
    There are three subtypes of ADHD that describe the type of symptoms a person experiences. People who have predominantly inattentive ADHD may quietly drift off on a thread of their own thoughts while staring out the window. About half of children with ADHD have the predominantly inattentive version. Those with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD have a hard time remaining still and may make impulsive decisions. Finally, people who struggle with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are said to have combined subtype ADHD.
  • Young Caucasian girl putting makeup on smiling father
    2. ADHD is genetic.
    So far, the evidence suggests there is a strong genetic component to ADHD. Approximately 40 to 60% of children of adults with ADHD will have the condition, and more than 20 scientific studies have shown evidence of a genetic link. But other factors may come into play as well. Experts know that premature birth, low birth weight, brain injury, and exposure to heavy metals and pesticides can increase the likelihood that an individual will develop ADHD. Additional research is necessary to untangle the interplay of genetics and environmental factors.
  • Group of diverse children and teens at counseling or support group
    3. There is no cure for ADHD, but medication and therapy can control symptoms.
    The two primary treatments for ADHD are medication and behavioral therapy, a type of counseling that helps people with ADHD (and people who love them) learn how to manage the symptoms of ADHD. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends behavioral therapy as the first line of treatment for children ages 4 to 5. Research shows elementary school-aged children tend to do best with a combination of prescription medication and therapy. Experts say teenagers and adults should be treated with medication and may benefit from therapy.
  • Middle-aged Caucasian man at desk with laptop looking out window in thought
    4. ADHD often persists into adulthood.
    Although many people think of ADHD as a childhood condition, adults can be affected as well. In fact, approximately two-thirds of children who are diagnosed with ADHD will continue to have symptoms into adulthood. Additionally, there are many adults who have struggled with ADHD symptoms throughout their lives, but never received an official diagnosis or explanation for their challenges. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in adults can dramatically improve functioning. If you think you (or a loved one) might have adult ADHD, talk to a qualified healthcare provider.
  • Young African American boy working with African American female teacher on tablet in classroom
    5. People with ADHD may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    People who have been diagnosed with ADHD and whose symptoms substantially limit their ability to work may request reasonable accommodations in their school or workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, children with ADHD may qualify for a Section 504 plan or special help at school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Accommodations may include extra time for testing or assignments, changes to the physical environment, and modified instruction. Your school or human resources department can give you more information about your rights under the law. With appropriate accommodations, most people of all ages with ADHD lead healthy, fulfilling lives.
5 Fast ADHD Facts | ADD vs. ADHD & Other Facts About ADHD

About The Author

Jennifer L.W. Fink, RN, BSN is a Registered Nurse-turned-writer. She’s also the creator of BuildingBoys.net and co-creator/co-host of the podcast On Boys: Real Talk about Parenting, Teaching & Reaching Tomorrow’s Men. Most recently, she is the author ofThe First-Time Mom's Guide to Raising Boys: Practical Advice for Your Son's Formative Years.
  1. ADHD: The Facts. Attention Deficit Disorder Association. https://add.org/adhd-facts/
  2. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): The Basics. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd-the-basics/index.shtml
  3. Dealing with ADHD: What You Need to Know. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm269188.htm
  4. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/condition/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/?adfree=true
  5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/attentiondeficithyperactivitydisorder.html
  6. Overview. Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). https://chadd.org/about-adhd/overview/
  7. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder-Information-Page
  8. Accommodation and Compliance: AD/HD. Job Accommodation Network, Office of Disability Employment Policy. https://askjan.org/disabilities/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder-AD-HD.cfm
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Last Review Date: 2021 Mar 6
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.