ADHD – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


ADHD or ADS are severe attention disorders These terms are understood to mean the so-called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. As a rule, boys in particular suffer from this disease. The exact causes are not yet known. However, it is assumed that there is a disrupted signal transmission in the brain, which was triggered by sensory overload. But hereditary causes and lifestyle of the parents can also play a role.

What is ADHD?

ADHD or ADS is the abbreviation for the so-called Attention Deficit Disorder, which is also known in technical jargon as hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder. ADHD is often found, especially in children. As a mental disorder, the symptoms are attention deficits and greatly increased impulsivity.

ADHD mostly affects boys. But there are also girls who show signs of ADHD. The severity of the symptoms in this regard varies from individual to individual. It is assumed that around three to ten percent of children have ADHD. ADHD used to be referred to as minimal cerebral dysfunction or psychoorganic syndrome.


According to the latest scientific knowledge, various factors are decisive for the development of ADHD. In this context, one also speaks of a multifactorial disorder. The tendency to develop ADHD in childhood is also hereditary.

In addition to a hereditary condition, environmental conditions and psychosocial factors can also play a role in the development of ADHD. In plain language, this means that the environment in which the child grows up has an influence on whether the genetic disposition to ADHD actually develops and how strong this expression turns out to be. The fact that ADHD is diagnosed much more frequently today than in the past can also be due to the changed living conditions.

This is partly due to the sensory overload caused by the oversupply of media stimuli, for example the Internet, computer games and television. It used to be assumed that early childhood trauma, neglect and parenting mistakes were the main causes of ADHD. But that is only partly true.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

ADHD is characterized by the three main symptoms of attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It occurs in children as young as seven years old. The symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. They persist for at least six months, but often remain unchanged well into adulthood.

The attention disorders are expressed by the following symptoms, among others. Child often makes careless mistakes, fails to pay attention to details, fails to concentrate on tasks, fails to listen when spoken to, fails to follow directions, is messy, tardy, often avoids mental effort, is forgetful, easily distracted, and often loses items. The impulsiveness and hyperactivity manifest themselves through constant restlessness, pacing, fidgeting, a lot of talking and impatience.

In addition, the child cannot sit still, acts frantically, and constantly disturbs other children or adults. School performance is often poor due to attention deficit disorders. However, the hyperactivity and impulsiveness can also lead to creative thoughts and actions. Furthermore, those affected are often helpful and enthusiastic, which can also promote positive development opportunities.

In addition to the main symptoms, other symptoms can also occur that do not occur in all children. In patients with ADHD, the probability of the occurrence of social behavior disorders, partial performance disorders such as dyslexia , anxiety disorders , depression, obsessive -compulsive disorders and sleep disorders is increased.


Recognizing the course of ADHD as such is relatively difficult. Because even trained educators do not find it easy to distinguish between a pathologically hyperactive child and a bright one. It is completely normal for a child of preschool age to have an increased need for exercise.

The boundaries of what is still normal and what is abnormal are therefore not always clearly definable. Around a third of boys of preschool age show at least rudimentary signs of ADHD. Impulse control and self-regulation are impaired in people with ADHD. As a result, there are more conflicts with teachers, classmates and parents. People with ADHD are unable to put their needs aside and motivate themselves. The ability to concentrate is sometimes severely impaired.


ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is commonly found in children, which can have many psychological consequences throughout their lives. At a young age, those affected have great difficulty concentrating on one thing. Children prefer to play around with other things. In addition, a language development disorder is often observed.

Children cannot articulate properly with other children and adults. Due to the high demand for peace and concentration in school and kindergarten, the children are usually overwhelmed and their performance decreases as a result. In addition, those affected show a disturbance of fine motor skills, which means that the children have illegible writing.

The affected children and adolescents are usually characterized by more aggressive behavior, which causes problems in establishing social contacts. They become socially isolated as a result and this can later lead to psychological consequences. Depression is not uncommon. Those affected show a risky life and often resort to alcohol or harder drugs.

Addiction develops, affecting not only the quality of life, but also work and family life. In addition, everyday life is totally unplanned and unstructured. In the worst cases, suicidal thoughts result from the depression. The fellow human beings as well as the partner are affected, since the partner often tends to violent attacks in fits of rage.

When should you go to the doctor?

If ADHD is suspected, it makes sense not only to see the pediatrician , but also to see a specialist. Possible contacts are also psychotherapists or psychologists – especially those who have specialized in ADHD. In addition, some counseling centers and outpatient clinics offer competent diagnostics and treatment for ADHD.

The symptoms of ADHD can also appear in the context of other mental and social problems. If the symptoms are a reaction to stress or a clear burden (e.g. to bereavement), a medical or psychological evaluation is usually not immediately necessary. The situation is different if the symptoms last longer or lead to severe restrictions at home and (especially in children) at school.

ADHD is often diagnosed in elementary school children. The symptoms typically appear before school age.

Adults can also turn to a doctor, psychologist or psychotherapist if they suffer from the psychological symptoms that are typical of ADHD. However, symptoms are often less pronounced in adults. When ADHD is not diagnosed until adulthood, the symptoms have usually been present for years, often since early childhood. However, treatment with medication and psychotherapeutic methods is possible at any age and can lead to a significant improvement in the quality of life.

Treatment & Therapy

ADHD is usually diagnosed during special tests. These include a concentration test and an intelligence test. After the diagnosis of ADHD, the goal of treatment is to eliminate the accompanying disorders and to develop social skills. Various treatment steps are carried out simultaneously. Psychotherapy is often combined with special coaching and the administration of pharmaceutical preparations.

Which form of treatment is chosen depends on the severity of the ADHD. The therapy is mostly carried out on an outpatient basis. If the symptoms are particularly severe, treatment can also take place in a day clinic, in a home or in a group. Older children, adolescents and adults can also alleviate ADHD with the help of autogenic training .

Medication may also be given for moderate to severe cases. These are often stimulants to influence the brain’s dopamine metabolism, which ultimately can improve self-regulation.

Outlook & Forecast

An attention deficit disorder can take many different forms. If the deficit is recognized early and treated therapeutically and with medication, the symptoms usually decrease and those affected can lead a relatively normal life. Professional support therefore greatly improves the chances of a full recovery.

If the attention disorder is not treated or treated insufficiently, problems in everyday life sometimes arise. Children with ADHD in particular have difficulties finding their way in their social environment. Those affected often develop other mental disorders, learning disorders or tics. In the further course, anxiety disorders and depression can occur and worsen the general prognosis.

In general, however, the prognosis for ADHD is good. Assuming appropriate therapy, the symptoms can gradually be reduced and eventually disappear completely over the course of life. Typical symptoms such as lack of concentration and hyperactivity usually decrease automatically with increasing age. Nevertheless, an attention disorder must always be treated with medication and within the framework of therapeutic measures in order to avoid a negative course.


ADHD disappears in some children over the years. Since they no longer have any symptoms, there is usually no reason for follow-up care. However, this must be seen against the background that the syndrome is actually not curable. The situation is different for a good 60 percent of those who are ill. They have ADHD for life. They are treated with behavioral therapy and medication. They should be able to lead a full social life.

For most of those affected, follow-up care cannot aim to prevent a recurrence. ADHD is permanent. Rather, it is about supporting the sick and preventing complications. The latter threaten equally in the world of work and in private life. It is not possible to generalize how this is achieved. Doctors have to coordinate therapies and medication individually. Depending on the severity, they put together a network of relief measures.

The primary contact person is the general practitioner. He not only prescribes prescriptions, but also involves the parents. Since they interact the most with those affected and bear legal responsibility for their minor children, their everyday experience with ADHD is crucial. Follow-up care to avoid complications takes place primarily on an outpatient basis.

You can do that yourself

Depending on the severity of the attention deficit disorder, there are different ways for those affected to optimize their everyday life through structuring measures for themselves. Here, for example, self-made rules help, compliance with which should be monitored by yourself and also by people you relate to. In the case of ADHD, it is good if praise or consequences result directly from the behavior.

Open communication of misconduct in individual situations raises the awareness of those affected and thus contributes to the fact that border crossings become less frequent. However, this does not work against the basic symptoms of ADHD. The day-to-day responsibility for this usually lies with parents and teachers.

For those affected, it is good to create a low-stimulus environment in situations in which concentration is required. Homework and the like should take place in a designated place that is only equipped with the bare essentials and is quiet. A clear schedule that regulates breaks and working hours also helps.

Learning the method of self-instruction training also supports those affected in their ability to complete tasks. Five cognitive steps help to work in a structured and goal-oriented manner. Furthermore, it has been shown that physical training can reduce impulsiveness and that the self-assessment of people with ADHD is improved by the immediate feedback on mistakes and successes.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.