Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Common Questions About Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

  • Is there a difference between ADD and AD/HD?
  • I can’t seem to get organized at home or work. Could I have AD/HD?
  • My child has difficulty paying attention and listening. Does that mean he/she has AD/HD?
  • Is there an effective treatment for AD/HD? Is medication the only answer?

What the experts say: AD/HD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a developmental disorder of self-control. ADHD describes a group of problems with attention span, activity level and impulse control. AD/HD is a disorder in brain development or brain functioning and often has a hereditary basis. An individual can sometimes develop AD/HD symptoms from a brain injury.

The symptoms of AD/HD affect children and adults of all ages and are treated effectively with medication, psychotherapy (primarily social skills training), and coaching (academic for students, career coaching for adults). Sometimes medication is sufficient.

There used to be a distinction between ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and AD/HD. ADD is now included in the diagnosis of AD/HD and there are 3 different subtypes:

1) AD/HD, Predominately Inattentive Type;

2) AD/HD, Predominately Hyperactive-Impulsive Type; and

3) AD/HD, Combined Type.

What Else You Should Know About AD/HD

In comparison to children without AD/HD, children with AD/HD can have increased problems in school including grade retention, suspension and expulsion, special education services, and school drop-out. Individuals with AD/HD are also at greater risk for accidental injury and driving accidents. Adults with ADHD may be underachievers at work and have difficulty working independently. Boys have ADHD more often than girls.

AD/HD is occasionally misdiagnosed. At The Center for AD/HD, at Birmingham Maple Clinic, we see many people who believe (or have been told) they have AD/HD. There are many reasons people have difficulty paying attention and/or following through with tasks besides ADHD, which is why a thorough evaluation is always needed before a diagnosis can be given. In addition to AD/HD, evaluations are designed to explore all other possible causes for the patient’s symptoms.

When AD/HD really is the problem an individual treatment plan is developed. The Center for AD/HD offers an array of services to meet the needs of the individual plan. These include psychiatric evaluation for medication, psychological testing, individual and/or family therapy, psycho-educational/lecture-format seminars for parents of children with AD/HD, seminars for adults with ADHD, educational tutoring, and academic or career coaching. For more information on the psycho-educational seminars, please see Groups and Events.

For more information visit the National Institute of Mental Health.