Occasionally we may all have difficulty sitting still, paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviour. For a person with ADHD, though, these problems become so pervasive and persistent that their ability to function effectively in daily life is compromised.
ADHD is a neurological syndrome, found in children as well as adults, that is characterised by poor concentration and organisational skills, easy distractibility, low tolerance for frustration or boredom, a greater tendency to say or do whatever comes to mind (impulsivity) and a predilection for situations with high intensity.
The name "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" reflects the importance of the inattention/ distraction aspect of the disorder as well as the hyperactivity/impulsivity aspect. ADHD symptoms arise in early childhood, unless associated with some type of brain injury later in life.
Symptoms of ADHD
Causes of ADHD
Reviewed by Dr A van der Walt, MMed (Paed) BSc Hon (Human Genetics) in April 2015.