Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder that causes above-normal levels of hyperactive and disruptive behaviors. People with ADHD tend to have difficulty concentrating, sitting still, paying attention, staying organized, following instructions, remembering details, and/or controlling impulses. One of the unfortunate complications for people with untreated ADHD is that they often have trouble getting along with their peers, family members at home, and coworkers.
For children, ADHD is perhaps most associated with problems at school. Children with ADHD often have difficulty succeeding in a controlled classroom setting; assignments become difficult obstacles, instead of productive learning experiences. Perhaps because of this—although it affects people of all ages—ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in children than in adults: A 2006 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that ADHD affects about four to six percent of American children ages five to 17 (approximately 4.5 million overall), making ADHD one of the most common childhood disorders in the United States. The survey also found that boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls. The majority (50 to 70 percent) of these children will retain symptoms into adulthood, but many get better over time.
Unfortunately, ADHD can be difficult to diagnose, and many children who suffer from the condition are labeled simply as troublemakers, problem children, or, even worse, stupid or lazy. ADHD is, however, a real and serious condition, not a means of explaining away behavioral problems. Luckily, with an early diagnosis and proper treatment, children with ADHD can be just as successful as children who do not have the condition.