Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) refers to a chronic, bio-behavioral disorder that develops in childhood. ADHD is identified through problems of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention and has been linked to difficulty with academics, emotions, and social functioning. Roughly, 6.4 million children are diagnosed with ADHD, making it one of the most common and fastest growing childhood disorders. While the disorder can’t be cured, it can be successfully managed. Successfully managing ADHD encourages healthy development and prevents issues from furthering into adulthood.

A Growing Concern for Youth and Adults

Over the last ten years, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder rates have increased 42% in American youth. Men have been diagnosed with one of the three forms of ADHD three times more often than women, but only 15% of the population ever knows they have the disorder. Left undiagnosed, the disorder can create problems later in life such as relationship troubles, trouble at work, and forgetfulness. While ADHD does not have a cure, it is manageable. Talk to your doctor for a treatment plan that may consist of therapy methods or medication. With proper management, it is possible to lead a successful life with ADHD.

5 Quick ADHD Facts

  1. 11% of children in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  2. ADHD has increased 42% amongst school-aged children over the last 10 years
  3. The average age of diagnosis is 7 years old
  4. 12.9% of men will be diagnosed
  5. 4.9% of women will be diagnosed

3 Main Types of Attention Disorder

The medical community recognizes three forms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Primarily Inattentive

Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive



  • Recurrent Inattentiveness
  • Inability to maintain focus
  • Child often “Spaces out” or “Can’t stay on track”
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Inappropriate movement
  • Often the “Class Clown”
  • Most common type of ADHD
  • People with combined experience 6 or more symptoms from Inattentive and Hyperactive ADHD


  • Undisruptive
  • Creative
  • High Energy
  • Unique ideas
  • See the world in a different, interesting way
  • Energetic zest for life

ADHD Myths and Facts

Myth Fact
There’s no such thing as ADHD ADHD affects 11% of schoolchildren and has risen 42% over the last 10 years
All kids with ADHD are hyperactive Some children are hyperactive, but some children are inattentive with no hyperactivity
Children will grow out of ADHD ADHD can continue into adulthood and become a lifelong issue
Children with ADHD lack intelligence Many children with ADHD are highly intelligent
Children with ADHD are just disobedient Children with ADHD do not intentionally misbehave. They try their best to behave but often lack control over their actions.

Prevalent Co-Occurring Disorders with ADHD

While 6% of the entire population is affected by ADHD, less than 2% receive treatment. Left untreated, it may lead to other conditions:

  • 41% of individuals have Oppositional Defiance Disorder
  • 22% suffer from Minor Depression/Dysthymia
  • 15% have Generalized Anxiety Disorder

ADHD has increased 42% in teens over the last 10 years. A survey conducted among teens with the disorder found:

  • 25% will repeat at least one grade
  • 35% won’t finish high school
  • 40% have tried alcohol and tobacco at an early age
  • 75% have interpersonal problems

Children with ADHD were more likely to get in trouble and require medical treatment than children without. Children were also:

  • 7 times more likely to be suspended from school
  • 5 times more likely to spend time in a juvenile justice facility
  • 6 times more likely to have confrontational interactions with the law
  • 10% more likely to suffer major injuries
  • 8% more likely to require hospital out-patient treatment
  • 8% more likely to require in-inpatient therapy
  • 7% more more likely to require a trip to the emergency room

ADHD into Adulthood

40%-50% of children struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will have symptoms persist into adulthood but only 15% are aware they have the disorder. Adults with persisting issues often experience these symptoms:

  • Difficulty with organization
  • Trouble sticking to a job
  • Forgetting appointments
  • Difficulty with daily preparation
  • Often late to work
  • Struggle being productive on the job
  • Failure with education
  • Numerous failed relationships

About 4%, or 10 million, American adults regularly deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but only 25% of adults receive treatment.

WARNING SIGNS: When Should You Seek Medical Care?

One in five American children diagnosed with ADHD have not received medicine or mental health counseling for their disorder. If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, medication and non-medication based treatments are available.

  • Shorter attention span than peers, requiring frequent teacher intervention
  • Avoiding work that requires sustained attention
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Disruptive behavior in the classroom such as persistent moving, talking, or playing
  • Argumentative about completing homework or chores
  • Frequent mood swings or rage

Parenting Tips for Coping with ADHD

Create Structure

Simple tasks like having your child lay out their clothes or establishing rituals can create structure. Structure can prevent over-activity by creating routine and establishing positive expectations around activities.

Don’t Let your Child or Their ADHD Take Control

As the parent, you decide acceptable behavior in your home. Your child’s ADHD is no excuse for unacceptable behavior. You are the parent, and you establish the rules.

Limit Distractions

ADHD makes it easy to become distracted. Regulate television, smart phone, and computer usage to decrease the risk of impulsive behavior. Increase engaging, outdoor activities to provide an outlet for your child’s built up energy.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

While not visible, ADHD is a disability and should be treated as such. When you feel angry or frustrated, remember your child can’t simply “snap out of it.” Be patient and understand there’s only so much your child can control.

Break Tasks Into Pieces

Children with ADHD may be forgetful. Consider using a wall calendar to remind a child of their duties. Color coding can prevent your child from becoming overwhelmed and encourage completion of tasks. If your child is struggling with duties, have them focus on small parts of bigger tasks.

Don’t Worry about the Small Stuff

If a child with ADHD completed the majority of a task, don’t push for the other portion to be completed. Everything will be a learning process, and small steps make all the difference.

Treating with Medication

Medication for the disorder can help.

Medication is available in short, intermediate, and long-acting forms with variations on dosage and frequency. For more information about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication, visit your family doctor or pediatrician. If medication is necessary, they will determine the needed prescription, dose, and frequency.

Treating without Medication

While medication is an effective method of managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, other methods as suggested by a doctor may also work for some people.

  1. Behavioral Therapy
    For younger children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends behavioral therapy before medication. Behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that replaces poor habits with positive ones, avoiding potentially self-destructing behaviors.
  2. Therapeutic Recreation Programs
    Therapeutic recreation programs may be similar to summer camps or physical activities with behavioral interventions. Many therapeutic recreation programs last all day for several weeks at a time. They encourage behavioral interventions and teach life and social skills.
  3. Examine Overall Health
    Encouraging better diet, exercise, and sleep patterns may decrease hyperactivity or increase energy, depending on your child’s needs. A recent study found 73% of children with ADHD also had a sleep problem. A natural supplement such as Melatonin can correct sleep patterns and help create better behavior. Consult your child’s physician before giving your child any supplements, however.
  4. Use Sensory Integration Techniques
    Children with ADHD may also have sensory integration dysfunction which is an over-sensitivity to environmental sights and sounds, and the brain has difficulty processing the information via the senses. This over-sensitivity to stimuli can cause certain reactive behaviors. A child can learn to self-calm, better engage, and, through the help of an occupational therapist or sensory integration specialist, increase attention.

Success Stories

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder does not have to prevent a successful or productive life. Many successful people share this diagnosis:

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will look to their parents for reassurance. Talk to your child’s physician to find the right treatment plan and stand by with love, care and affection. Once a plan is in place, take small steps to manage the disorder. With proper management, your child can lead a successful life.

As with all treatment options, we recommend consulting a health care professional before using information contained in this article. This guide is intended to be solely information in nature and not as medical advice.