Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), previously referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is characterized as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.” The American Academy of Pediatrics further asserts, “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition whose symptoms are also dependent on the child’s environment.” Although ADHD is one of the most studied conditions in America, the precise cause for developing ADHD remains unknown. Research has, however, indicated that genetic factors, environmental factors, and developmental delays may all contribute to its potential development. ADHD is extremely common, as the worldwide prevalence of ADHD is estimated to be around 2.2% in children and 2.8% in adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 3.3 million children between ages 12-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD in America.
There are several signs and symptoms that can present as symptoms of inattention in ADHD. The CDC indicates that the symptoms of inattention are inappropriate for one’s developmental level, and can include any combination of the following:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
- Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
- Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
- Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
- Is often easily distracted.
- Is often forgetful in daily activities.
As is outlined in the diagnostic criteria provided in the DSM-5, to be diagnosed with ADHD, a teen must show a persistent pattern of inattention and/ or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with his or her functioning or development.
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