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What is ADHD?

Image of a child for our FAQ What is ADHD?

As one of the most common learning disabilities in the United States, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD, is diagnosed to over three million Americans each year. Regardless of how common it is, however, the number of people who know very little about it is quite staggering. Also, many unfamiliar individuals fail to recognize some common myths that surround this condition. So, what exactly is ADHD?

A Chronic Disorder

ADHD is a chronic disorder that can last an entire lifetime. What is quite surprising, though, is the fact that some patients do not get diagnosed until late in their life. Thus, someone could spend decades suffering from ADHD-related symptoms without ever receiving proper treatment. This is mostly because learning disabilities were not properly recognized by medical experts until just a few decades ago.

In simple terms, ADHD is a condition that affects brain development in areas that control focus, attention, and self-control. Since it arises during the developmental stages of life, the vast majority of patients receive their diagnoses during early education. By affecting the aforementioned areas of the brain, it perpetuates symptoms that are easily recognized by mental health experts. Some examples include the inability to sit still, difficulty with paying attention to very specific things, or failure to complete repetitive tasks.

A Common Misconception

One of the most common myths about people who suffer from ADHD is the belief that they cannot focus on anything. The reality, however, is the exact opposite. The problem that these individuals run into is that they focus on everything. Thus, while they are trying to pay attention to one particular person or event, their mind will veer off start acknowledging all of the surroundings and irrelevant events taking place. So, they do not have a problem with focusing on something, they have a problem with not focusing on everything else that accompanies the main focal point.


Although ADHD is incurable, given that it affects the patient’s brain chemistry in many irreversible ways, it can be treated with certain medication. The most common prescription drug that helps battle symptoms of the condition is known as Adderall. Unfortunately, since it is designed to help with focus and attention, there is a lot of undiagnosed individuals who take the drug to boost their mental performance. According to Forbes, this is quite dangerous as it is slowly putting Adderall in the negative spotlight characterized by addiction issues and illegal purchases.

For those who have been diagnosed, though, Adderall acts as a nervous system stimulant that will bring their cognitive function to the normal level that matches people who do not have ADHD. In other words, they will be able to avoid focusing on everything around them. Because it is essentially an amphetamine, it is impossible to legally purchase the drug absent proper doctor diagnosis and prescription. Hence why it is important to seek help from a professional as soon as some of the first symptoms start arising.

It is not unusual for individuals with ADHD to also suffer from other disabilities like dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, and even depression. Fortunately, the advancement of modern medicine has helped minimize the number of people whose ADHD is undiagnosed and untreated.

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