The country is celebrating the National ADHD Awareness Week on October 13-19, pursuant to Proclamation No. 472, DECLARING THE THIRD WEEK OF OCTOBER OF EVERY YEAR AS “NATIONAL ATTENTION DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (AD/HD) AWARENESS WEEK.”

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that can make it difficult for those affected to concentrate.

While most cases of the condition are diagnosed between the ages of six and 12-years-old, the different levels of symptoms often mean some adults aren’t diagnosed until later in life.

A number of famous people have been diagnosed with the condition, including Justin Timberlake, Will Smith and Solange Knowles.

ADHD is a behavioural disorder that typically manifests as a persistent pattern of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequent and severe than is typically observed in most individuals according to the National Council on Disability Affairs.

Another condition called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has similar symptoms to ADHD, but it doesn’t cause people to feel as hyperactive.

While people with ADD mostly struggle with concentrating, those with ADHD will also have excess energy, meaning they can find it hard to control what you say and do, such as speaking without thinking first, or finding they you do things on impulse.

Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school.

Symptoms of ADHD in adults can be more difficult to define.

However, they tend to include the inability to focus or prioritize, restlessness, forgetfulness, mood swings and extreme impatience.

What causes ADHD?

While the exact cause of ADHD is unknown, the condition has been shown to run in families.

Number of possible differences in the brains of people with ADHD when compared with those without the condition.

Other factors suggested as potentially having a role in ADHD include:

  • being born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy)
  • having a low birth weight
  • smoking or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy

ADHD can occur in people of any intellectual ability, although it’s more common in people with learning difficulties.

ADHD is highly responsive to treatment.  Treatment usually consists of occupational therapy for very young children, supportive counselling/psychotherapy, and almost invariably medication.  The medicines used for ADHD do a simple job:  bring about appropriate levels of neurotransmitters to effectively connect the different parts of the brain that regulate attention, memory, inhibition of inappropriate behavior, and inappropriate emotions.

If you think you or your child may have ADHD, the St. Clare’s Medical Center suggests making an appointment to see your doctor.

If you’re worried about your child, it may also help to speak to their teachers beforehand, to find out if they have any concerns about your child’s behaviour.