What is ADHD? ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral problems in childhood and adolescence. Children with ADHD have more trouble staying focused, paying attention, and controlling their behavior and impulses than other children of the same age. ADHD seems to run in some families and can continue into adulthood. An estimated 3% to 5% of school-age children are affected by ADHD (Source: PubMedHealth). Although it may be easy to label children as having ADHD, specific criteria exist for its diagnosis. The diagnosis is based on a six-month or longer persistence of multiple symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that must be more severe than those of their peers. The diagnosis is sometimes overlooked in children who predominantly have symptoms of inattention because they tend to be quiet and less disruptive than children with hyperactivity and impulsivity symptoms. It can also be missed in children with predominant symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity, who may be labeled instead as having emotional or disciplinary problems. To further complicate diagnosis, other problems, such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, depression, learning disorders, oppositional-defiant disorder, and tic disorders, seem to occur more commonly in children who have ADHD than in other children. Furthermore, undetected seizures, hearing or vision problems, and some medical conditions, as well as stress, can cause symptoms similar to those of ADHD. ADHD may also be diagnosed in adults even if it was not identified during childhood. Properly diagnosed and treated, symptoms of ADHD can be managed successfully, allowing children and adults who have ADHD to live productive, normal lives. Treatment often involves a combination of approaches, such as medications, behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, and education of parents and teachers. Since ADHD can interfere with school performance and potentially lead to lifelong problems, it is important to receive appropriate treatment if ADHD is present. Seek prompt medical care if you or your child’s teachers think your child might be affected by ADHD.