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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • 8%of the population are affected by ADHD
  • 4 in every 5 adultsaren't getting any treatment for their emotional or mental health
  • £800kis spent on research each year into ADHD in the UK

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder that makes an individual more likely to have short attention spans, be impulsive and hyperactive.

Most cases are diagnosed when children are 6 to 12 years old and it can have a big impact on a child’s ability to learn at school. ADHD often occurs alongside other problems, most commonly depression, but also anxiety or sleep disorders among others.

The symptoms of ADHD often persist from childhood into teenage and adult years. However, the symptoms of ADHD can be more subtle in adults and affect them in a different ways to children.

The causes of ADHD are not clear, but we know that people who have a parent or sibling with the condition are much more likely to be affected. It has also been suggested that low birthweight and premature birth may play a role too.

Both behaviour therapy and medication can be used to improve the symptoms of ADHD. Behaviour therapy focuses on helping a person to control their behaviour, while medication can help improve attention span and reduce impulsive behaviour. 

Our research into ADHD

Profiles

Need help?

Get information and advice on anxiety disorder at NHS Choices. If you're having a mental health emergency find out who to turn to using our urgent help and advice resource.

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