Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that interferes with the brain’s ability to properly regulate important executive functioning skills. People who are diagnosed with ADHD often have trouble paying attention, act impulsively, and demonstrate hyperactivity. Although the term ADD is often used interchangeably with ADHD, the correct, current medical term for the disorder is ADHD. Symptoms often start during childhood, and while some symptoms may continue into adulthood, others can become less pronounced. Common ADHD symptoms include:
Like many disorders affecting the brain, researchers still haven’t found any one clear cause of ADHD. However, scientists do believe that several specific factors may play a role in its development. For example, ADHD tends to run in families, and studies show that inherited genes could be responsible. Certain environmental factors may lead to the development of ADHD, including childhood exposure to lead, a common neurotoxin. In utero, babies that have problems with their central nervous system at key moments of development may also be more likely to have ADHD. Premature babies are at greater risk of developing the condition, as are children whose mothers smoked, used drugs, or drank alcohol while pregnant.
Although there are no lab tests to diagnose ADHD, it’s important to work with a psychiatrist or other qualified physician to have a proper medical assessment. ADHD can be hard to spot because it resembles a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Its symptoms also mimic those of sleep disorders, developmental disorders, or other problems that affect thinking or behavior. To accurately diagnose ADHD, Dr. Shakil gathers information and uses tests, screenings, and evaluations to rule out other possibilities.
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