Frequently Asked Questions

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What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

What causes ADHD?

We don't know exactly what causes ADHD. Researchers believe ADHD may be caused by one or more of the following factors:

  • ADHD is thought to be caused by an imbalance of two chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, in the brain. Researchers think that these chemicals might play an important role in ADHD
  • Research suggests that ADHD tends to run in families. However, this does not mean that all children in a family will have the disorder
  • Certain external factors, such as smoking during pregnancy or complications during pregnancy, delivery, or infancy, may contribute to ADHD

Do people outgrow ADHD?

Many people tend to think of ADHD as a childhood disorder. However, the symptoms affect children, teens, and adults. In fact, an estimated 11% (6.4 million) of US school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime.* Additionally, an estimated 4.4% of adults have ADHD in the US. When extrapolated to the full US adult population aged 18 and over, approximately 10.5 million adults are estimated to have ADHD in the US. Nearly 50% of children with ADHD may continue to meet the criteria for the disorder into adulthood.

Can ADHD be treated?

Yes. ADHD symptoms may be controlled with an effective management plan. Your management plan may include education, medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. Ongoing assessment and treatment may be necessary.

How often should my symptoms be reassessed?

Even if you are currently being treated, follow-up appointments several times a year will help your doctor assess your progress and adjust your management plan as needed.

I think I have ADHD. What do I do?

Talk to your health care professional if you think you have ADHD. You may use this tool as a guide to help you discuss your symptoms with the physician.

If the health care professional diagnoses ADHD, he/she will work with you to determine an appropriate management plan. Your health care professional may refer you to an ADHD specialist to help you determine the best plan for you.

* Based on the 2011/12 National Survey of Children’s Health, in which parents were asked if a health care practitioner had ever told them their child had ADD or ADHD

Based on the National Comorbidity Survey Replication of 3199 adults aged 18 to 44 years conducted from 2001 to 2003