What is ADHD and How Does It Affect People?

Sii Nurul
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms can vary in severity and presentation, affecting different areas of a person’s life. ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children and can continue into adulthood.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

According to NHS website, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people's behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.

ADHD is one of the most studied disorders. Most people have heard the term, but so many of them don't truly understand its effect. 

In a study called, "A serious game for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Who benefis the most?" we see:"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders with a worldwide prevalence rate of 5% among children and adolescents[1] In addition to the core symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention, children with ADHD show functional impairments in different areas of daily life such as planning their homework, estimating the time needed to complete an assignment, staying focused on tasks at hand and building and maintaining meaningful social relationships with their peers [4]. These problems have been shown to adversely impact the daily life functioning of children with ADHD as well as their acedemic performance in the long-term [5-7]

People with ADHD, from kids to adults, can struggle with executive function, impulse control, emotional regulation, and other things that affect their lives greatly. Though medication can help, it is important to find other means to help alleviate their symptoms, help them learn coping mechanisms that are healthy, and encourage long lasting relationships

Key Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms in children and teenagers

ADHD symptoms can be categorized into two types: 
  • Inattentiveness (difficulty concentrating and focusing)
  • Hyperactivity-impulsiveness. 
While many people with ADHD experience both types of symptoms, some only have inattentiveness, known as ADD, which can often go unnoticed due to its less obvious symptoms. 

ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in boys, as girls with ADHD tend to exhibit less disruptive behavior and are more likely to show inattentiveness, leading to underdiagnosis in girls.

Here are some common symptoms of inattentiveness in ADHD:
  • People with ADHD may have a short attention span and get easily distracted. 
  • They might make careless mistakes, like in schoolwork, and often seem forgetful or lose things.
  • They can struggle to stick to boring or long tasks
  • Might seem unable to listen to or follow instructions. 
  • They may constantly switch between activities 
  • Have trouble organizing tasks.

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness in ADHD include:

  • Inability to sit still, especially in quiet places
  • Constant fidgeting
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks
  • Excessive physical activity
  • Talking too much
  • Difficulty waiting their turn
  • Acting without thinking
  • Interrupting conversations
  • Little or no sense of danger
These symptoms can lead to problems like poor performance at school, difficulty getting along with others, and discipline issues.

Symptoms in adults

In adults, ADHD symptoms can be harder to identify due to less research and the subtler nature of adult symptoms compared to children. ADHD is a developmental disorder, meaning it starts in childhood, but many children with ADHD continue to have symptoms as adults.

For adults, hyperactivity often decreases, while inattentiveness remains, especially with the increased pressures of adult life.

Here are some common adult ADHD symptoms:
  • Carelessness and lack of attention to detail.
  • Starting new tasks before finishing old ones.
  • Poor organizational skills.
  • Inability to focus or prioritize tasks.
  • Frequently losing or misplacing things.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Restlessness and feeling edgy.
  • Difficulty staying quiet and speaking out of turn.
  • Blurting out responses and often interrupting others.
  • Mood swings, irritability, and a quick temper.
  • Difficulty handling stress.
  • Extreme impatience.
  • Taking unnecessary risks, such as driving dangerously.

Impact on Daily Life

ADHD can significantly impact various aspects of daily life, including:

1. Academic Performance

Children with ADHD often struggle with organizing tasks, completing assignments on time, and maintaining focus in class. These challenges can lead to lower academic performance and increased frustration.

2. Social Relationships

Difficulty with impulse control and emotional regulation can make it hard for individuals with ADHD to form and maintain meaningful social relationships. They might interrupt conversations, have difficulty taking turns, or act without considering social consequences.

3. Executive Function

Individuals with ADHD frequently face challenges with executive functions, such as planning, time management, and decision-making. This can affect their ability to complete tasks efficiently and meet deadlines.

4. Emotional Regulation

ADHD can be associated with difficulties in managing emotions, leading to frequent mood swings, frustration, and stress. This can affect relationships and overall well-being.

Treatment for ADHD can help reduce symptoms and make daily life easier. ADHD is often treated with a combination of medicine and therapy. Treatment plans are usually created by specialists like pediatricians or psychiatrists, though your GP may also help monitor the condition.


ADHD is a complex and multifaceted disorder that can significantly impact an individual’s daily life and long-term outcomes. Understanding its symptoms and effects is crucial for providing effective support and interventions. 

By combining medication with behavioral strategies, educational support, and skills training, individuals with ADHD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.



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