What is ADHD?

ADHD is a developmental, neurobiological condition of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Individuals who have difficulty sustaining attention, adjusting activity levels, and regulating impulses over various social contexts are described as presenting with ADHD. These social contexts may be within the family environment, at school, or within peer groups.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5, to qualify as true ADHD, problems of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity must have been present before 12 years of age and must have been consistent for over 6 months. Generally, such problems are noticed from a very early age. The problems experienced by children with ADHD are genuinely disruptive to their everyday performance and wellbeing; mere naughtiness at home or not doing well at school cannot result in a diagnosis of ADHD. ADHD is not exclusively a childhood disorder and  ADHD often continues to affect diagnosed individuals throughout adulthood. ADHD can be described by its severity on a scale of mild, moderate or severe.

ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed childhood neurological-behavioural condition, affecting at least 3-7% of school-aged children in Europe and the United States . Furthermore, it often continues to affect diagnosed individuals throughout adulthood, with 60% of individuals with ADHD symptoms in childhood continuing to have difficulties in adulthood. ADHD is more frequently diagnosed in boys than girls. Research has shown that ADHD is as prevalent on the African continent as in Western countries. This data suggests that ADHD might emerge from some fundamental neurobiological process.