Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a psychological term currently applied to anyone who meets the diagnostic criteria for impulsivity, hyperactivity and/or inattention. The diagnostic criteria are subjective and include behaviors which might be caused by a wide variety of factors, ranging from brain defects to allergies to giftedness, to environmental stress.  ADD and ADHD, as currently defined, is a highly subjective description, not a specific disease.

There is no definitive “test” for ADHD as there are for other medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. ADHD is diagnosed based on the presence of a set of behaviors or symptoms. Such symptoms must be present at such intensity that they significantly impair a person’s ability to function day-to-day in social, academic, or occupational settings.
The three main symptoms used to diagnose ADD/ADHD are: Impulsiveness, Easily distracted, and Hyperactivity.

Coincidently, these happen to be the main behaviors resulting from stress and anxiety.
People with at least 6 of the inattentive symptoms and at least 6 of the hyperactive/impulsive symptoms are considered to have combined-type ADHD.

For the inattentive type (ADD)

At least 6 of the following symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months to an extent that is not consistent with one’s peers:

  • Careless mistakes/lack of attention to details
  • Lack of sustained attention
  • Poor listener
  • Failure to follow through on tasks
  • Poor organization
  • Avoiding tasks requiring sustained mental effort
  • Losing things
  • Easily distracted
  • Forgetful in daily activities

For the hyperactive/impulsive type (ADHD)

At least 6 of the following symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months to an extent that is not consistent with one’s peers:

  • Fidgeting/squirming
  • Leaving seat
  • Inappropriate running/climbing
  • Difficulty with quiet activities
  • “On the go”
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting out answers
  • Can’t wait turn
  • Intrusive

Genetic and Environmental
Research indicates that ADD/ADHD runs in families.
It has been found that people who exhibit symptoms of ADD/ADHD may have different brain chemistry.  According to Harvard Medical School, current research strongly suggests that  ADHD is caused in part by a deficiency of norepinephrine (neurotransmitter).


Stress (over-stimulation, abuse and neglect, overprotection, learned behavior).
Lifestyle (nutrition, exercise)

Most common medications used to treat ADD/ADHD

Stimulants (to enhance levels of Dopamine and Norepinephrine)
Concerta, Focalin, Ritalin, Vyvanse
Non-Stimulants Strattera, Intuniv
Antidepressants (promote increase of Norepinephrine and Serotonin)
Pamelor, Effexor, Wellbutrin   (don’t work well with attention, just on behavior)