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What is ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

What is ADD?


Updated June 07, 2009

What is ADD?

ADD / ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a biological, brain based condition that is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors. It is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. If left untreated, ADHD can lead to poor school/work performance, poor social relationships and a general feeling of low self esteem.

ADHD is often first detected when a child enters school. Attention and behavior issues become more obvious in this structured setting. The student may have trouble sitting still or waiting his turn. His impulsive behaviors may lead him to “act before thinking”. His short attention span and distractibility become more noticeable.

It was once believed that ADHD was exclusively a childhood disorder that was outgrown during adolescence. It is now known that these symptoms can continue into adolescence and adulthood.

Symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness may decrease somewhat during adolescence and be replaced with feelings of restlessness. Attention problems often persist and may manifest itself in different ways. Time management and organization are often difficult. Planning ahead, finishing work, staying on track, organizing activities, following conversations, maintaining relationships -- all may required intense effort.

Click on Causes of ADHD to Watch an Informative Video about ADHD.


National Institute of Mental Health. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. 2006.

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