What is ADHD?

ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in children

Patient portrayal

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a treatable, neurobehavioral disorder found in kids, teens, and adults.

ADHD definition and facts

Here is a list of essential ADHD information you might find helpful. And, of course, talk to your child’s doctor to learn more.

  • ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Some people call it ADD, but ADHD is the correct name for it.
  • There are three main types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive, and combined type.
  • Any child can have moments of being inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive. Children with ADHD, however, experience these symptoms repeatedly and in a way that is severe enough to have an impact at home, at school, or in social situations. Sometimes, these behaviors may not seem appropriate for the child’s age.
  • ADHD is a treatable medical disorder. It may be caused in part by an imbalance in chemical messengers that affect behavior, though the exact cause is unknown. Because it’s a real medical disorder, it’s important to understand it’s not your fault—or your child's fault.
  • Only a doctor or other healthcare provider can accurately diagnose ADHD.
  • It is estimated that nearly 17 million Americans are affected by ADHD. Need some context? The state population of New York is just over 19 million.


11% or
6.4 million

U.S. school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD in their lifetime.*

*Based on the 2011/2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, in which parents were asked if a healthcare practitioner had ever told them their child had ADD or ADHD.

ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in children.

According to follow-up studies of children with ADHD:

60% to 85%

of kids (ages 6-12) may continue to have ADHD as teens (ages 13-17), but symptoms may look different as your child gets older.

Nearly 50% of children (ages 6-17) may continue to have ADHD as adults

Nearly 50%

of children (ages 6-17) may continue to have ADHD as adults. This statistic is based on parent reports.

Ask Your Doctor About ADHD

Concerned about your child and ADHD?

Start learning, and be sure to talk to your child's doctor.

Get your child's doctor discussion guide

Concerned your child might
have ADHD?

Talk to a doctor if you think your child might have ADHD

Patient and caregiver portrayals

If you're concerned there's a chance your child might have ADHD, be sure to have an open and honest conversation about it with your doctor. Only a doctor or healthcare provider can diagnose ADHD. And that’s the first step to creating an ADHD management plan that’s right for your child’s world.

Start your child's doctor discussion guide

Next up?

Information is power, so keep learning about ADHD.

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