This disorder used to be called Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD
Diagnostic Criteria for the three subtypes of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that is more frequently displayed and is more severe than is typically observed in individuals at comparable level of development
Individual must meet criteria for either (1) or (2):
(1) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level 4
(2) Six (or more) of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
There must be clear evidence of interference with developmentally appropriate social, academic or occupational functioning.
The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other Psychotic Disorders and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).
To others, those with ADHD seem aloof, forgetful, hyper, socially inappropriate, intentionally not trying, disorganized, and more. This is usually made worse by the fact that people with ADHD have the ability to hyper-focus on activities that they like. Hyper-focusing is when they block out all external noises and focus so intently on an activity that it seems like they are ignoring the rest of the world. To those who don't have ADHD, this makes it look like ADHD people can focus when they want to. Truth is, hyper-focusing is a trait of ADHD and is a normal part of the diagnosis.
Having ADHD is like living life without a filter. Imaging that we have a filter in our brains, like the filter in an air purifier. The filter catches unwanted particles and lets through the particles of healthy air that are desired. Without that filter, the bad air and the good air would pass through without any separation between which ones are good and which are bad.
People with ADHD don't have this filter, so every thought that occurs in their minds pops into their consciousness and they have no choice but to acknowledge it. The rest of the world however, is never aware of most of the “dirty particles” because their minds filter out the unwanted particles before they even get to your conscious mind.
This means that having ADHD can be frustrating as their minds are never quiet and they are always bombarded with new thoughts, new information and new feelings. It can be exhausting, overwhelming, and frustrating. For this reason, having ADHD can cause people to feel very sensitive and emotional. For an ADHD sufferer to reduce the constant stream of unwanted thoughts, they usually seclude themselves from the world or get most of their work accomplished alone, or late at night once the rest of the world has calmed down.
ADHD is a neurological disorder, which means that we are born with it. It is caused by a lack of certain neurotransmitters in our brains. This means that there is a lack of a chemical necessary to keep all of the parts of the brain functioning properly. In the case of ADHD, the part of the brain that filters out unwanted information is not working properly.
It is strongly recommended that treatment of ADHD be with a combination of medication and talk therapy. Medications called stimulants are one of the first lines of treatment for this disorder, and can help reduce many symptoms. However, a consistent relationship with a therapist can help ensure more positive results. With ADHD it is very important to learn coping skills for ADHD as well as coping skills for life. Learning to cope with a constant stream of thoughts, and learning to reduce impulsivity are also very important.
While the medication for ADHD reduces symptoms on a daily basis, there is no cure for ADHD.