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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Disorder that begins in childhood, but can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)

About ADHD

ADHD is a disorder that has three different types of symptoms:

  • Difficulty paying attention or focusing on certain tasks
  • Being overactive (or hyperactive)
  • Acting on impulse (without thinking)

Children or teens with ADHD may:

  • Get distracted easily and forget things often
  • Switch too quickly from one activity to the next
  • Have trouble following directions
  • Daydream too much
  • Have trouble finishing tasks like homework or chores
  • Lose toys, books, and school supplies often
  • Fidget and squirm a lot...

Read more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Management of ADHD in Children, Young People and Adults

This guideline has been developed to advise on the treatment and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The guideline recommendations have been developed by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, service users and carers, and guideline methodologists after careful consideration of the best available evidence. It is intended that the guideline will be useful to clinicians and service commissioners in providing and planning high-quality care for people with ADHD while also emphasising the importance of the experience of care for them and their carers (see Appendix 1 for more details on the scope of the guideline).

Medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children with tics

As many as half of all children with tic disorders also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of ADHD are often more disabling for children than their tics. Historically, the reported ability of stimulant medications to worsen tics has limited their use in children who have both a chronic tic disorder and ADHD. To evaluate evidence for this reported phenomenon we searched for clinical trials of medications for ADHD used specifically in children with tic disorders. The trials indicate that a number of stimulant and non‐stimulant medications are safe and effective treatments for ADHD symptoms and do not worsen tics. High dose stimulants may transiently worsen tics in some children, and worsening tics may limit dose increases of stimulants in some children, but in the majority of children both tics and ADHD symptoms improve with use of stimulant medications.

Meditation therapies for attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects a significant number of children and adults in a variety of ways. It is characterized by chronic levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Meditation therapy could be a beneficial treatment for those diagnosed with ADHD. The objective of this review was to assess the efficacy of this treatment. As a result of the small number of studies that we were able to include in this review and the limitations of those studies, we were unable to draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of meditation therapy for ADHD. No adverse effects of meditation in children have been reported. More trials are needed on meditation therapies for ADHD so that conclusions can be drawn regarding its effectiveness.

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Summaries for consumers

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Treating ADHD in adults

The most appropriate treatment for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will largely depend on their individual circumstances and the type of problems being caused by the condition.Most adults who have ADHD develop their own strategies for dealing with the disorder. Some may try using relaxation techniques or turn to self-help groups for support, while others may find doing sports helpful.Some adults with ADHD need more help to successfully cope with their disorder. In their case, medication and/or psychotherapy may be good treatment options. Medication can effectively reduce the main ADHD symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattentiveness. Behavioral therapy can help you learn different ways to better cope with behavioral problems and the effects they have in everyday life.

Medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children with tics

As many as half of all children with tic disorders also have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of ADHD are often more disabling for children than their tics. Historically, the reported ability of stimulant medications to worsen tics has limited their use in children who have both a chronic tic disorder and ADHD. To evaluate evidence for this reported phenomenon we searched for clinical trials of medications for ADHD used specifically in children with tic disorders. The trials indicate that a number of stimulant and non‐stimulant medications are safe and effective treatments for ADHD symptoms and do not worsen tics. High dose stimulants may transiently worsen tics in some children, and worsening tics may limit dose increases of stimulants in some children, but in the majority of children both tics and ADHD symptoms improve with use of stimulant medications.

Meditation therapies for attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects a significant number of children and adults in a variety of ways. It is characterized by chronic levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. Meditation therapy could be a beneficial treatment for those diagnosed with ADHD. The objective of this review was to assess the efficacy of this treatment. As a result of the small number of studies that we were able to include in this review and the limitations of those studies, we were unable to draw any conclusions regarding the effectiveness of meditation therapy for ADHD. No adverse effects of meditation in children have been reported. More trials are needed on meditation therapies for ADHD so that conclusions can be drawn regarding its effectiveness.

See all (28)

More about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Photo of a child

Also called: Attention deficit disorder, ADD

See Also: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Adults

Related articles:
For Parents: Coping with ADHD

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