DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that affects millions of children and often persists into adulthood. ADHD includes a combination of problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior.
Children with ADHD also may struggle with low self-esteem, troubled relationships and poor performance in school. Symptoms sometimes lessen with age. However, some people never completely outgrow their ADHD symptoms. But they can learn strategies to be successful.
While treatment won't cure ADHD, it can help a great deal with symptoms. Treatment typically involves medications and behavioral interventions. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in outcome.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- ADHD factsheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- Bader A, et al. Complementary and alternative therapies for children and adolescents with ADHD. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2012;24:760.
- Rucklidge JJ. Gender differences in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2010;33:357.
- Vaughan B, et al. Pharmacotherapy of pediatric attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 2012;21:941.
- Emond SK, et al. Management strategies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A regional deliberation on the evidence. Postgraduate Medicine. 2012;124:58.
- Kim DH, et al. Relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and perceived parenting practices of school-age children. Journal of Clinical Nursing. In press. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.
- Parenting a child with ADHD. National Resource Center on AD/HD. http://www.chadd.org. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Facts about ADHD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/adhd/facts.html. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Jensen PS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 31, 2013.
- Swintak CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 21, 2013.
- Goodlad JK, et al. Lead and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. 2013;33:417.
- Lindstrom K, et al. Preterm birth and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in school children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:858.