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What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD, is a Neuro-Developmental condition that impairs how a person’s mind develops and how they see and interact with the world around them. People with ADHD can often find it difficult to concentrate, follow directions or regulate their impulsive behaviour.

The condition can be broken down into three distinct symptoms, inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.


People with the inattentive symptoms may find it hard to pay close attention and might make careless mistakes in school, work or with other activities. They will also struggle keeping attention on a task for extended periods of time.  They may seem as if they are not listening when spoken to directly and may not follow through with given instructions, such as chores, schoolwork or other duties. Especially when a few instructions are given all at once, this also impacts their ability to organize and prioritise tasks. They may try to avoid (or be reluctant to begin) tasks that require a lot of mental effort for a long period of time, for example homework or studying. They can also have a habit of misplacing and losing items they need for simple tasks, like keys, pens, glasses and phones.

Impulsiveness and Hyperactivity

People with the Impulsive and Hyperactive symptoms will tend to fidget or squirm when they must sit still for extended periods of time. They may even get up and run around in situations where it is inappropriate. They may struggle to take part in activities quietly, making them seem as if they are always on the go. They might talk excessively, sharing too much information or they can blurt out answers to questions before it has been asked. They struggle to wait their turn and can often interrupt conversations or games without realising they have done so.

Combination Type

If you have the combination type, it means that your symptoms don’t exclusively fall within the inattention or hyperactive-impulsive behavior. Instead, a combination of symptoms from both of the categories are exhibited.

Most people, with or without ADHD, experience some degree of inattentive or impulsive behavior. But it’s more severe in people with ADHD. The behavior occurs more often and interferes with how you function at home, school, work, and in social situations.

Most children have combination type ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health Trusted Source. This type is more common in boys compared to girls. The most common symptom in preschool aged children is hyperactivity.

Symptoms can change over time, so the type of ADHD you have may change, too. ADHD can be a lifelong challenge. But medication and other treatments can help improve your quality of life.

Each type of ADHD is tied to one or more characteristics. ADHD is characterized by inattention and hyperactive-impulsive behavior.

These behaviors often present in the following ways:

  • Inattention:getting distracted, having poor concentration and organizational skills
  • Hyperactivity:never seeming to slow down, talking and fidgeting, difficulties staying on task
  • Impulsivity:interrupting, taking risks

Everyone is different, so it’s common for two people to experience the same symptoms in different ways. For example, these behaviors are often different in boys and girls. Boys may be seen as more hyperactive, and girls may be quietly inattentive.

The symptoms you experience will determine which type of ADHD you have.

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