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    Brianna Shaw, MSP
  • on Feb 13, 2019 |

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD, is a brain disorder that is characterized by a continuous pattern of inattention and impulsive hyperactivity that interferes with how a person functions or develops.

The key behaviours of ADHD are inattention and hyperactivity. Some people might only have problems with one of the behaviours but others can have problems with both. It is normal for people to have some inattention, unfocused, and hyperactivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviours are far more severe.

The signs and symptoms of ADHD are:


  • Miss details or make careless mistakes in school, work or other activities
  • Have problems paying attention to tasks including reading, lectures, or conversations
  • Doesn’t seem to listen when being spoken to directly
  • Doesn’t follow through with instructions or starts tasks but quickly gets sidetracked
  • Avoids or doesn’t like tasks that require mental effort
  • Loses tools that are necessary for tasks and activities such as keys, wallets, or school supplies


  • Fidgets has a hard time sitting still
  • Leaves their seat often especially when staying in your seat is required
  • Feeling restless often
  • Being constantly on the go
  • Talking non-stop or saying answers before a question is finished or speaking without waiting for your turn in the conversation
  • Has trouble waiting your turn
  • Interrupts others

Severe symptoms of ADHD affect how the person functions and can cause the person to fall behind in normal development for their age. ADHD symptoms can appear as early as the age of 3-6 and continue through adolescence and adulthood. Many adolescents who have ADHD struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviours.

There is no known cause for ADHD but the contributing factors are:

  • Genes
  • Brain injuries
  • Low birth weight
  • Smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins (such as high levels of lead) during pregnancy or at a young age

Other conditions are common in people with ADHD such as learning disabilities, conduct disorder, anxiety and depression, and substance abuse.

Although there is no cure for ADHD, there are many treatments that can help people with this disorder live a fulfilling and productive life. Treatments include education or training, psychotherapy, and medication.