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ADHD: Your questions answered, using our best divergent thinking

Health Hippo is a website dedicated to giving you clear health information, in 10 minutes or less, for specific health conditions. You are your own best advocate for your health. And, we do all the legwork to help make it easy for you to do so, by sifting through and validating material from the best insider resources. See why our approach helps you more than those other vague, sensationalized health information websites.
Based on analysis of web traffic, the most common questions that people ask about pediatric ADHD are:
  • What is ADHD?  What is ADD?
  • What are the 9 symptoms of ADHD?
  • Can ADHD kill you?
  • What Causes ADHD?

In our research on health conditions at Health Hippo, we’ve found that there is particularly dated and misleading information about these ADHD questions from resources that are decades old.  Over at WebMD, for instance, children with ADHD are described as “easily distracted,” “losing things,” and “daydreams” which (a) describes almost every child and (b) shares none of the diagnostic precision required to differentiate ADHD from the over 33 other medical conditions that mimic ADHD symptoms. Other headlines on WebMD’s ADHD resource center include “Bipolar disorder or ADHD?” and “Scary Side Effects of ADHD Meds.” WebMD advances the discredited possibility that toxins are a cause of ADHD and the unproven idea that after-school programs ease symptoms of ADHD. Most troublingly, there’s a high volume of content about ADHD stimulant medications without any mention of the important concerns for children at younger ages and those with cardiovascular risk factors. It’s a “get you to click” ad-focused experience that is at work to manipulate your health concerns.
So, let’s get to some brief – and accurate - answers to your questions that give you basic insight about ADHD, all of which are further detailed here

What is ADHD?  What is ADD?  

ADHD stands for “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” and has two core categories of traits. One is hyperactivity-impulsivity and the other is inattention. Each has its own pattern and course of development; they can occur separately or, more frequently, together. ADD is the original term, which stood for “attention deficit disorder,” but was phased out in 1987 as the understanding of the disorder grew to include hyperactivity. The newest thinking focuses on the unique symptoms that are most present for an individual, rather than a particular type of ADHD.

What are the 9 symptoms of ADHD?  

So, first things first, there are not 9 symptoms of ADHD, that are 22: there are 9 symptoms of inattention; 9 symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity; and another 4 conditions that apply to both categories of traits. A diagnosis is made based on the persistence, pervasiveness, and functional complications of these symptoms. This is fully described in the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5).

Can ADHD kill you? 

ADHD is not a benign health problem. Like virtually every important medical condition, an undiagnosed and untreated problem can, directly or indirectly, have fatal consequences if and when it becomes a severe problem. In the case of ADHD, fatalities are indirect.  Particularly for children who have ADHD persisting into adulthood, there may be a higher rate of injury and self-injury, safety problems when driving a vehicle, and substance abuse. On the other hand, ADHD may be accompanied by an important advantage: the ability to think more creatively. This article from Scientific American documents three aspects of creative cognition: divergent thinking, conceptual expansion, and overcoming knowledge constraints. Divergent thinking, for example, is the ability to think of many ideas from a single starting point, and individuals with ADHD have been shown to be exceptionally good at it.

What causes ADHD?  

Genetics appears to be a primary factor in the cause of ADHD. Most other speculated causes are controversial and range from possible to disproven. Disproven causes include eating too much sugar, watching too much television, poor parenting, or poverty.

So, there you have it.  Your most common questions answered, correctly. 

And, learn how to ensure pediatric ADHD is properly diagnosed, since there are over 33 medical conditions that mimic the symptoms of ADHD. Take 10 minutes right now and learn about diagnosis of pediatric ADHD, along with straight-to-the-point complete information about causes, treatment, and what to expect with pediatric ADHD right here.






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