What is ADHD?

ADHD is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is extremely common and often goes overlooked, even in today’s society in which the media would have us believe that the condition is diagnosed too frequently and treated with reckless abandon.

Symptoms Include:

  • Persistent inability to sit still
  • Fidgetiness
  • Rushing through homework/making careless mistakes
  • Frequently losing objects or possessions
  • Persistent inability to organize oneself
  • Trouble following tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Blurting out answers or having trouble waiting ones turn
  • Trouble controlling impulses even when there are significant needs for not controlling those impulses
  • Difficulty sustaining attention under concentration


There are a great number of issues that cloud and complicate the process of making a correct diagnosis of ADHD. A diagnostic evaluation from a trained psychiatric professional is one of the very few methods available to accurately determine if your son or daughter has ADHD.

For some children, skill acquisition occurs but only with the greatest of effort and even though they manage to acquire the necessary skills, they may get certain messages from this process, taking from it ideas like, “School’s not for me; it’s just too hard,” simply because others in the class seem to acquire skills so much more readily.

Commonly Asked Questions and Misconceptions

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My child isn’t hyperactive therefore he doesn’t have ADHD.
For children with ADHD, predominantly inattentive type, there can be no hyperactive symptoms at all, no fidgety arms or legs, no behavioral problems, just trouble concentrating and making the grade. This subtype of ADHD is difficult to identify and treatment is often delayed for years as it goes undiagnosed.
My son reminds me of my husband. He just can’t pay attention even if he wants to.
The heritability of ADHD, or how often ADHD is transmitted from parents to children is up to 90%. If you struggled in school or to pay attention even into adulthood, it is quite likely that your child may have the same trouble.
My child can pay excellent attention sometimes (especially during videogame time–which seems to be always, by the way), therefore he cannot have ADHD.
ADHD is often thought of as the inability to pay attention all the time. In fact, children with ADHD can frequently pay quite good attention. What is missing is the ability to modulate or to control that attention span. They can’t pay attention when they *want* to. They may be endlessly fascinated with a drinking straw for hours one day, but can’t complete homework even with the best of intentions.

Videogames are the ultimate red herring for ADHD diagnosis. Videogames themselves are stimulating, and can create an effect similar to that of a stimulant medication in the brain. Of course children can pay attention to them!

My pediatrician told me that my son/daughter doesn’t have ADHD.
Pediatricians can be a parent’s best friend, but oftentimes they don’t have the time required to make a definitive diagnosis due to the constraints of modern healthcare. Appointment times are shrinking and our physicians and nurse practitioners are under increased pressure to see more and more patients daily. They only way to be clear about a diagnosis of ADHD is to take time and have a proper evaluation. Many pediatricians can readily identify ADHD but there are many cases that also go overlooked, sometimes to the child’s great detriment.