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ADHD health centre

ADHD overview

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) have symptoms that may begin in childhood and continue into adulthood. ADHD is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK and it's estimated to affect between 2 - 5% of school children and young people. ADHD symptoms can cause problems at home, school, work, and in relationships.

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Paying attention aged 7 may be key to later grades

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ADHD diagnosis

How is ADHD diagnosed?

There is no single test to diagnose ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is difficult to diagnose. Many of the symptoms, such as inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity can also be a common part of a non-ADHD child's development.



Sometimes the more formal setting of starting school leads to an ADHD diagnosis, while some people may not be diagnosed until they are adults.



Parents who think their child may have ADHD should see their GP.

Diagnosing ADHD

The GP will ask questions to find out about symptoms and behaviour, when they started and whether these are affecting daily life. Problems like being unable to make friends, or not being able to wash or feed themselves, are called functional impairment.



The GP will want to know whether ADHD symptoms happen at home or at school, or both.



They'll ask whether there's a family history of ADHD, as it may have a genetic component.



The GP will also ask about other health conditions and about any major changes in family life, such as divorce or the death of a close family member.

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