Before I dive into today’s piece i would like to share something that someone with ADHD shared with me after reading my personal take on it:

“Well said, though it’s not always seen as not doing well in school too, I got diagnosed this year. The adhd class in pediatrics opened my eyes and I’ve always done well in school because I am able to hyper focus a day or two before an exam and I’ve carried on with this behavior up till now. And I feel like girls are under diagnosed because our presentation is kind of calmer in a sense…”

Definition Of ADHD

According to Psychology Today:

Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as a neurobehavioral disorder characterised by a combination of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsive behaviour.

Neurobehavioural is just a fancy word for disorders that are due to a disturbance in certain areas of the brain that impacts the way a person relates with the world around them.

With ADHD, the disturbance is mostly associated with the dopamine system. I will write more on the neurobiology of ADHD in a subsequent post

ADHD is also seen as a mental illness because of the impact that the symptoms have on mood, behaviour and also thinking.

I used to think ADHD was a modern mental health disorder. It turns out that it has been around for quite some time. With records showing that it had been present in the early 20th century(1904) but was previously termed as ADD(Attention Deficit disorder)

Until it was also observed that patients presenting with attentional deficits also had hyperactivity issues. Which gave rise to it being named ADHD in the mid 1980’s


Although the aetiology is not entirely known but it does however have strong genetic component.

And has an incidence of about 1 in 10 children.

The major symptoms of ADHD includes:

1. Inattentivenesss: people suffering from this disorder have trouble focusing even when they seem to be focused on something(like during a conversation)

Inattentiveness is also marked by an inability to also remember things or follow instructions. And they tend to procrastinate on work that has to do with a lot of mental effort. And also get easily distracted.

They do however have moments when they hyperfocus on certain activities or even people. This is mostly things that highly interest them or give them a lot of joy/dopamine release.

2. Impulsivity: Those suffering from this disorder tend to act without much thinking atimes. This may show up as speaking excessively, inability to wait in line, interrupting others or jumping up to do things abruptly

3. Hyperactivity: People with ADHD have trouble staying in one place. They always want to move around and even in situations where they are expected to sit still, they find reasons to get up and do something.

There are other symptoms of ADHD which includes having trouble with time perception which often shows up as procrastination and turning up late for things, trouble with organisation, affinity for sugary substances, Etc

In an Article on ADHD written by psychology today, it reads:

“To be diagnosed with ADHD, a person must present with problems related to inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity for a period of at least six months that significantly negatively impact their performance or functioning, according to the DSM-5. These behaviors must also exist in two or more contexts such as at home, at work, or in social settings. Per the DSM, these symptoms must have been present before the age of 12, even if the individual is diagnosed as an adult”

That said, I would like to add that if these symptoms are in any way present in your daily life and cause significant impairment please try to reach out to a neurologist or psychiatrist for adequate diagnosis and treatment of the disorder.

Thank you for reading. Next week I will try to discuss the Neurobiology of ADHD(as it is important in pharmacological and behavioural treatment of the disorder.


(P.s Psychology Today’s article can only be accessed in certain countries but you can access the article using VPN)