It may be that you feel extremely restless, that you can't sit still for long and that you always want to do something else. It may also be that you find it difficult to concentrate, that you can't pay attention for very long and you forget important things. Perhaps this upsets you. Friends, your parents and teachers often grumble at you.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is short for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If you have this disorder, it difficult for you to pay attention to something and you are hyperactive. Anyone can be hyperactive or have difficulty paying attention from time to time, but if you have ADHD you have trouble with this almost all the time.
Not everyone with ADHD has the same problems:
- It may be that you can't focus properly. This means that you have difficulty paying attention for long or you often forget things.
- It may be that you are just really hyperactive. This means that you are always doing something all the time and can't sit still. You do things without thinking about them beforehand.
- It also may be that you have both of these problems. If this is the case, you are often hyperactive and you also have difficulty focusing. That can also mean you struggle with other problems too, such as trouble falling asleep, being scared of things or often getting angry.
What is ADD?
ADD is short for Attention Deficit Disorder. It means you have a concentration disorder.
- You have trouble thinking about lots of things and struggle to hold your attention on something.
- You are dreamy and forgetful.
- You find it hard to plan the tasks that you have to do. That leads to you not finishing things off or arriving late.
- You are not hyperactive.
- If something really interests you, you can actually concentrate on it really well. This is called 'hyperfocus'. People often say that you can't be bothered or aren't doing your best, and that you're lazy and forgetful.
What causes ADHD and ADD?
ADHD is partly hereditary. This means that if one of your parents and brothers or sisters has it there is a large chance that you will also get it. The brain of someone with ADHD also looks different. Special areas in your brain are a bit smaller than normal and your brain also functions a bit differently. For example, if you think "stop", that same warning gets passed on by your brain a bit more slowly than in someone who doesn't have ADHD, and that means you sometimes do things too fast.
How common is it?
It is usually possible to tell if you have ADD/ADHD before the age of seven. About 3 out of every 100 children in the Netherlands have ADHD. It appears that more boys have ADHD than girls. It seems that more girls have ADD. But boys can still have ADD and girls can still have ADHD.
Would you like to know more about the treatment of ADHD?