Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What Is ADHD?

The essential feature of attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity- impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. Inattention manifests behaviorally in ADHD as wandering off task, lacking persistence, having difficulty sustaining focus, and being disorganized and is not due to defiance or lack of comprehension. Hyperactivity refers to excessive motor activity (such as a child running about) when it is not appropriate, or excessive fidgeting, tapping, or talkativeness. In adults, hyperactivity may manifest as extreme restlessness or wearing others out with their activity. Impulsivity refers to hasty actions that occur in the moment without forethought that have high potential for harm to the individual (e.g., darting into the street without looking.) Impulsivity may reflect a desire for immediate rewards or an inability to delay gratification. Impulsive behaviors may manifest as social intrusiveness (e.g., interrupting others excessively) and/ or as making important decisions without consideration of long-term consequences (e.g., taking a job without adequate information).*


*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. 61. Print