Having a really hard time focusing in class? Having trouble sitting still? Getting bored with your daily class work? Leaving your homework to the last minute?

These are only some of the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. So if your answers to these questions are YES, you might not even finish reading this article ... but before you run away, you might want to know that ADHD is actually very common and can be treated easily.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurological condition, which means it is related to the nervous system. People with ADHD have problems focusing their attention and are often very distractible and impulsive. These symptoms can interfere with many daily activities, especially with school (as if being a teenager is not hard enough already). So if you feel like you know what I’m talking about, a proper medical diagnosis can only make your life easier.

Did You Know?
One out of 10 school-age children and teens have ADHD.

What causes ADHD?

Although the exact answer is still unclear, ADHD is associated with an imbalance of certain chemicals within the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters, because they carry signals between brain cells. The neurotransmitter dopamine, for example, is abnormally low in people with ADHD. Dopamine affects motivation, learning, mood and attentiveness. Another important neurotransmitter that might be out of balance is acetylcholine, which is responsible for arousal and attention.

Did You Know?
Chemical imbalance in the brain can result in many types of disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Each disorder has its own form of imbalance.

How ADHD can be treated?

There are many opinions when it comes to treating ADHD. While some physicians strongly recommend medication, others prefer other approaches such as counseling and vision therapy (which improves visual skills that allow a person to pay attention).

The most common medications prescribed today are Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, which are considered “stimulants” because they increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. This is why they are very useful in improving focus and helping to perform well in school. These stimulants, however, can have negative side effects like reduced appetite and growth. It is therefore important to consult with a doctor before starting a new treatment.

Did You Know?
For many individuals, ADHD symptoms improve during adolescence or as age increases.

Are people with ADHD less smart?

Not at all! Some of the most talented and creative people in the world like Mozart, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison had ADHD (although it wasn’t called Attention Deficit Disorder back then). In fact, many people with ADHD are considered “gifted” because they are very talented and bright. That's what makes school so boring for them.

So, if you think of ADHD as the worst thing that could have ever happened to you, remember that you might actually be gifted.

Learn More!

The ADHD Information Library

Famous Celebrities with ADHD

Chemical Imbalance – The Health Center

Article first published October 18, 2009.

Moran Weinberger

I did my PhD in physiology at the University of Toronto and now I am a medical student at Tel Aviv University in Israel. When I am not studying, I like to read, do yoga and meet up with friends.


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