What is ADHD
If you have attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), you may have lots of energy and find it difficult to concentrate. It can be hard to control your speech and actions.
ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in children. It usually starts at about 18 months old, but symptoms usually become noticeable between the ages of 3 and 7.
We don't know what causes ADHD but experts think it runs in families. It could also be caused by an imbalance in brain chemicals.
A related condition, ADD (attention deficit disorder) has similar symptoms, but there is less hyperactivity and the main problem is difficulty concentrating.
The symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD include:
- feeling restless or fidgety
- talking a lot and interrupting
- becoming easily distracted
- finding it hard to concentrate
- saying or doing things without thinking
Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by ADHD. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.
What to do about ADHD
Take the first step – if you think you are affected by ADHD, talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.
You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).
There is no test for ADHD. Instead, you'll talk to an expert, maybe a psychiatrist or specialist paediatrician, to find out the best way to help.
Medication, behavioural therapy, counselling, family meetings and special educational support can all help children and young people with ADHD.
Children under 5 shouldn't be given ADHD medication.
You should be offered psychological therapy on a one-to-one basis. Older children may also be offered group sessions to help with their behaviour.
Where to get help
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
- Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis
- If you need urgent help text YM to 85258
- All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors
- Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
- If you're under 19 you can confidentially call, email or chat online about any problem big or small
- Freephone 24h helpline: 0800 1111
- Sign up for a childline account on the website to be able to message a counsellor anytime without using your email address
- Chat 1:1 with an online advisor
- A place for you to get advice and information about counselling in the UK, if you're aged 12-25.
- If you're under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need.
- Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (13:00-23:00 daily)