Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a neurobiological condition that affects an estimated 3-7 percent of the population. In most cases, AD/HD is thought to be inherited, and tends to run in some families more than others. AD/HD is a lifespan condition that affects children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. It affects both males and females, and people of all races and cultural backgrounds.
Some common symptoms and problems of living with AD/HD include:
- Poor attention; excessive distractibility
- Physical restlessness or hyperactivity
- Excessive impulsivity; saying or doing things without thinking
- Excessive and chronic procrastination
- Difficulty getting started on tasks
- Difficulty completing tasks
- Frequently losing things
- Poor organization, planning, and time management skills
- Excessive forgetfulness
Not every person with AD/HD displays all of the symptoms, nor does every person with AD/HD experience the symptoms of AD/HD to the same level of severity or impairment. Some people have mild AD/HD, while others have severe AD/HD, resulting in significant impairments. AD/HD can cause problems in school, in jobs and careers, at home, in family and other relationships, and with tasks of daily living. 1
Major Types of Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder
In recent years, what we have called ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) has undergone a revision in its diagnostic definition. Now called Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder, this new name reflects the three major types of the disorder. 2
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type describes individuals who display symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. 3
- Feeling restless, often fidgeting with hands or feet, or squirming while seated.
- Difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
- Feeling of "on the go" or "driven by a motor."
- Predominantly Inattentive Type describes individuals who display symptoms of inattention. 3
- Has a hard time giving close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in their work.
- Has difficulty following through on instructions and finishing work.
- Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in work that requires sustained mental effort.
- Combined Type describes individuals who display symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.
1 National Resource Center on AD/HD (2003). What We Know: Issue 9
2 National Institute of Mental Health (2003). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
3 Bramer, J.S. (1996). Succeeding in college with attention deficit disorders: Issues and strategies for students, counselors and educators. Plantation, FL: Specialty Press.