ADHD

Struggling to concentrate, having too much energy or not being able to easily control your behaviour are some of the symptoms of ADHD. Find out more about ADHD and how to get help.

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.

Guide to CAMHS

Treating ADHD

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.

Find out more about the drugs used to treat ADHD
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