Updated 19 May 2015

What is ADHD?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurological syndrome that is estimated to affect as many as 1 in 10 children globally.


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.

Read more:

Symptoms of ADHD

Diagnosing ADHD

Causes of ADHD

Reviewed by Dr A van der Walt, MMed (Paed) BSc Hon (Human Genetics) in April 2015.


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Delia Strondl is a Registered Career Counsellor focusing on both school readiness and career counselling. She achieved her honours in Psychology and completed a career counselling internship. Since then, she has been working with children with a variety of learning difficulties including ADHD and Cerebral Palsy. Read more

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