Understanding ADHD in Children and Adults

When it comes to behavioral health, ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) remains one of the most discussed topics. This article delves deep into what ADHD is, its symptoms, treatments, and its effects on both children and adults. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of how ADHD impacts various aspects of life and addresses the need for tailored approaches in its management. Furthermore, the article sheds light on the complexities of ADHD, breaking down myths and misconceptions to foster a better understanding and empathy towards those living with this condition.

What Is ADHD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects one’s ability to sustain attention, control impulses, and maintain activity levels appropriate for age​​.

ADHD Symptoms

ADHD symptoms can be broadly categorized into two primary types:

  • Inattentiveness: This includes symptoms such as forgetfulness, being easily distracted, missing details, and difficulty in organizing tasks.
  • Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Symptoms under this category include fidgeting, difficulty remaining seated, rushing through tasks, or being excessively talkative.

Individuals can also experience both types of symptoms. It’s essential to differentiate between ADD and ADHD. While ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) — now considered a dated or colloquial term — focuses mainly on inattentiveness, ADHD encompasses both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.

Symptoms of ADHD in Different Age Groups

ADHD manifests differently across various age groups, with each stage of life bringing unique challenges and symptoms. Understanding these differences is crucial in recognizing and managing ADHD effectively.

  • ADHD in Children: Children with ADHD might frequently daydream, forget or lose essentials like toys and books, make careless mistakes, or be easily distracted. They can also display symptoms like excessive talking or difficulty playing quietly​​.
  • ADHD Symptoms in Adults: Adult ADHD symptoms might include difficulty in organizing tasks, frequent forgetfulness, impulsiveness, restlessness, or difficulty following conversations.

Is ADHD Genetic?

ADHD has been closely linked to genetics, with family studies suggesting that relatives of individuals with ADHD are more likely to have it themselves. Genetic factors are believed to contribute significantly to the risk of developing ADHD, with some estimates indicating that genetics account for about 70%-80% of the predisposition to ADHD. Additionally, current research is also exploring how specific genes — especially those involved in brain neurotransmitter pathways — might contribute to one’s susceptibility​​.


Historically, ADD was used to describe cases without hyperactive symptoms. However, in the latest official diagnostic language, ADD has been subsumed under the broader category of ADHD, which is now divided into three types: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined​​. Thus, the term ADHD is more encompassing, and the use of “ADD” has become somewhat outdated, though it’s still popular in layman’s conversations.

Treatment for ADHD

The cornerstone of ADHD treatment involves a multi-pronged approach:

  • Medication: Stimulants — such as Ritalin or Adderall — are commonly prescribed. They boost and balance levels of specific neurotransmitters in the brain. Non-stimulants — like Strattera or Intuniv — are alternatives for those who don’t respond well to stimulants.
  • Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps individuals develop skills to change negative thought patterns and behaviors. For children, parents might be involved to better manage disruptive behaviors.
  • Education and Training: This is vital for both patients and their families to comprehend the challenges and treatments of ADHD. Some institutions — like CommuniHealth Services — offer comprehensive care, including evaluations, medication management, and counseling​​.

Is ADHD a Disability?

ADHD can be considered a disability under various laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This designation ensures that individuals with ADHD can receive necessary accommodations in school or the workplace. However, to qualify, the individual’s daily functioning must be significantly impaired by their symptoms.

ADHD Testing

Diagnosing ADHD is meticulous, requiring more than just observing behavior. It often involves:

  • Medical Examinations: To rule out other conditions that might have similar symptoms.
  • Interviews: Understanding the individual’s history, challenges, and daily functioning.
  • Behavioral Observations: Watching and noting the individual’s behavior in different settings, such as at home or in school.
  • Rating Scales: Often filled out by parents, teachers, or others, these help professionals assess the severity and frequency of symptoms.

An accurate diagnosis is pivotal, as other conditions, like anxiety or mood disorders, can sometimes mimic ADHD symptoms​​. That’s why it’s important to always talk with your healthcare provider first.

Understanding ADHD requires a holistic approach, considering its onset, symptoms, and the challenges it presents across different age groups. With proper diagnosis and tailored treatments, individuals with ADHD can lead fulfilling lives. Remember, early intervention and continuous support are key. If you or someone you know exhibits signs of ADHD, it’s essential to seek professional assistance.

At CommuniHealth Services, we understand the importance of preventive care and encourage all of our patients to schedule preventive services. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, we strive to ensure underserved populations receive holistic healthcare. We provide medical, dental, and behavioral health care services for patients of all ages. Other services provided include pharmacy, substance abuse counseling, transportation, translation, specialty care/services, health education, and comprehensive outreach. You can learn more about the services we offer or even schedule an appointment at one of our many locations!