What Is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain-based condition that can cause people to have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviours and being overly active. The disorder is often diagnosed in childhood but often persists into adulthood. People with ADHD have difficulty staying focused and organised, making it hard to succeed in school or work. However, numerous treatments are available, including medication, therapy, tutoring and lifestyle changes that can help improve symptoms of ADHD over time.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder. It affects an individual’s ability to stay focused, pay attention, control impulsive behaviour, and regulate emotions.

It’s characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, but these symptoms can vary widely from person to person.

Untreated ADHD significantly impacts people, including a dramatic increase in school expulsion, being dismissed from multiple jobs, and developing generalised anxiety disorder.

ADHD usually first appears in childhood; however, it may not be diagnosed until adulthood, when it becomes apparent that the problem has persisted into adulthood (although some people do outgrow their symptoms). Many people with ADHD have no idea they have the condition until they get older because it often goes undiagnosed in childhood due to a lack of awareness about ADHD among parents or teachers at the time of diagnosis.

What Causes ADHD?

The exact cause of ADHD is not known. Still, research suggests that genetic predisposition and environmental factors play a role in the development of the condition.

ADHD has a high heritability of around 70-80% (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-018-0070-0), meaning that if you have ADHD, on average, 70-80% of the ADHD traits will be passed on to your child. A high hereditability indicates that genetics play a significant role in ADHD.

The brain develops during pregnancy and throughout childhood, and the effects of some substances (e.g., alcohol or lead) can be passed from mother to child through the placenta or breast milk. For example, drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases your child’s risk for developing ADHD later in life because it interferes with proper brain development during critical stages when neurons form connections.

What Affects ADHD Symptoms

As with any medical condition, several factors can affect the symptoms of ADHD. The following are some of the most common:

  • Stress. Stressful situations can make it difficult for people with ADHD to focus on what they’re doing and stay calm.
  • Sleep deprivation. Too little sleep may cause irritability and other symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as poor concentration and memory problems that make it hard for you to think clearly and perform tasks efficiently at work or school.
  • Poor nutrition habits. Eating poorly can lead to low energy levels–and when you’re already struggling with concentration issues due to having ADHD, this only worsens things.
  • Too much screen time. Mobile apps, TV shows, and games are designed to hold your attention for long periods. As a result, they can cause addiction and overstimulation.

Overexposure to ‘quick dopamine’ significantly impacts people with ADHD. Too much sugar, shopping, gaming, or using your phone seriously increase the chances of overstimulation, leading to anxiety, depression, or burnout.

Impact of ADHD on Teenagers

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with ADHD, you must have symptoms that are noticeable enough to cause impairment in your life. A psychiatrist will ask questions about the child’s behaviour, family history and other conditions that may be causing symptoms.

Psychiatrists often use standardised tests, rating scales, and checklists to help them determine if a person has ADHD or another mental health condition; ADHD can look similar to anxiety and stress, and often there is a significant overlap.

Rating scales can include questions about how often a child is distracted by things around them (like noises) or forgets things like homework assignments or appointments. The psychiatrist might also ask questions about how well the child functions at home and school and their relationships with friends and family.

How to Make Classrooms More ADHD-Inclusive?

To make classrooms more inclusive for students with ADHD, teachers should work to identify the students in their classes with the condition. Teachers can ask parents whether their child has been tested for ADHD or how they behave at home or in other settings and observe how they interact with others during class. Once you’ve identified a student as having ADHD, you must provide them with accommodations so that they can succeed academically.

Teachers should also teach using methods that are engaging for children with ADHD by teaching through games and activities rather than lectures only (although this is good advice for teachers in general). In addition, teachers should give extra time on tests or assignments because those tasks may take longer for someone whose mind wanders quickly away from what was just said by another person; this can be done either by giving students an extended deadline or allowing them to take tests multiple times until they get them right! This way, no one feels embarrassed about not being able to complete something on time; instead, everyone has been given multiple opportunities or times where each attempt builds upon previous ones.

Accommodations for Students With ADHD

  • Provide a quiet place for students to work.
  • Provide headphones if they’re not disruptive to others and the student can use them appropriately.
  • A timer can remind the student when it’s time to change tasks. It is best to provide one they can carry around (especially for younger children).
  • Make copies of assignments and handouts available before class so students can start their work immediately.
  • Give each student a planner or encourage them to set reminders on a calendar to keep track of assignments, due dates, and any other important information explicitly related to themselves; this will help them stay organised throughout the day.

Effective Home Management Strategies

Several practical strategies can help you support your child at home. These include:

  • Helping them with their homework, especially when organising and prioritising tasks.
  • Assisting with time management, including setting up a routine for doing homework and other activities such as cleaning their room or tidying up after themselves (this may also involve helping them learn how to use an alarm clock).
  • Helping them organise their belongings so they have what they need available when needed (for example, having stationery supplies in one place rather than spread across several drawers).

Taking over the tasks that your child finds challenging can be tempting. However, it would be best to let them do their work. Too much support from a parent can leave your child unprepared for life when they leave home. An excellent way to encourage them to do their work is to sit with them during the task, which provides some gentle pressure to complete it.

Helpful Lifestyle Changes for Students With ADHD

Various lifestyle changes can help students with ADHD to manage their symptoms and perform better at school.

  • A good diet includes nuts, grains, fruit and vegetables whilst avoiding sugar. Sugar causes the release of dopamine. This dopamine hit significantly impacts your brain’s reward system and sends a positive reinforcement signal for something negative.
  • Exercise and sports are fantastic for your brain and body. Exercise releases dopamine as a reward for doing something productive; this is the right kind of dopamine hit.
  • A regular sleep routine, including quiet time before bed. Avoid using phones or tablets the hour before bedtime as they can overstimulate the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. If you struggle with insomnia or wake up tired during the day, talk to your doctor about alternative therapies such as meditation or relaxation techniques (for example, yoga). They may also be able to recommend a medication which could help you get more restful sleep at night so that you’re refreshed for classes in the morning!
  • Avoiding overstimulation from technology such as social media and video games by setting aside time each day when these things aren’t allowed will give your brain a chance to rest after absorbing so much information throughout the day!

We hope this post has helped you understand what ADHD is, how it affects students and what can be done to help them. As we mentioned earlier, learning more about ADHD and managing symptoms will improve your relationship with those affected by the disorder. This may also make it easier for them to live with their condition and achieve their goals in life!


ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, while ADD refers to Attention Deficit Disorder. ADD is an old term for the predominantly inattentive presentation of ADHD. 

  1. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: Individuals with this type experience more significant symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsivity than inattention.
  2. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (formerly known as ADD): People with this type primarily struggle with attention-related symptoms without displaying significant hyperactivity or impulsivity.
  3. Combined Presentation: Individuals with this type exhibit significant inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity symptoms.

No, ADHD is not a form of autism. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and autism are two separate neurodevelopmental disorders, each with distinct diagnosis criteria.

While some symptoms of ADHD and autism may appear similar in some instances, they are distinct conditions with separate diagnostic criteria. Individuals can have ADHD and autism as co-occurring conditions, but they are not considered the same disorder or a single form of each other.

ADHD can have a significant impact on academic performance and learning abilities. Such issues may come from difficulty maintaining focus on tasks, being easily distracted, having trouble sustaining attention, poor organisation skills, problems with time management or difficulties sitting still or remaining quiet for extended periods.

ADHD can have a significant impact on social interactions and relationships. ADHD can lead to impulse control and emotional regulation difficulties, affecting the development of relevant social skills and appropriate behaviours essential for building and sustaining relationships. This includes taking turns during conversations, active listening, and understanding social norms.

It is difficult to determine if those with ADHD are happier because everyone’s experiences and perceptions of happiness differ. ADHD can pose many challenges in a person’s life, such as attention deficits, impulse control issues, organisational difficulties, and emotional regulation problems. These struggles can negatively impact a person’s relationships, academic or work performance, and overall well-being.

While ADHD is often associated with challenges, there are also some potentially positive aspects of ADHD, including:

  1. Creativity: many individuals with ADHD possess highly creative minds. They may excel in thinking outside the box, generating new ideas, and making connections that others may not see.
  2. Hyperfocus: while difficulty with attention is a hallmark of ADHD, individuals with ADHD can also experience periods of intense focus and concentration, known as hyperfocus. During these times, they can become deeply absorbed in a task or activity that interests them, leading to increased productivity and achievement.
  3. Energetic and enthusiastic: people with ADHD are often described as having high energy, enthusiasm, and spontaneity levels. This can make them engaging and fun, bringing excitement and joy to their relationships and interactions.
  4. Out-of-the-box thinking: ADHD individuals have a unique perspective and can approach problems or situations from unconventional angles. This can lead to innovative solutions and creative problem-solving abilities.
  5. Ability to multitask: while multitasking is often seen as a negative trait, individuals with ADHD often cope well with juggling multiple tasks simultaneously. They can thrive in fast-paced environments that require quick thinking and adaptability.

It’s important to note that the strengths and positives associated with ADHD can vary from person to person, and not everyone with ADHD will possess all of these qualities. Additionally, it’s crucial to recognise that the positives of ADHD should be viewed in the context of individual experiences and in balance with any challenges or difficulties that ADHD may present.