AD/HD is not a new diagnosis as some believe. It has been around for over a century, but it has been called different things like "minimal brain dysfunction", "hyperkinetic impulsive disorder," and "attention deficit disorder (ADD)." Currently the official recognized term since 1994 is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). However this term did not begin to be used more frequently until 2005. There are still many, including professionals, who use the terms ADD, ADHD and AD/HD interchangeably.  Now there is a trend to use ADD for the type that is inattentive and ADHD for the type that is hyperactive.

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According to the DSM IV (the manual used by those diagnosing individuals with AD/HD) there are three different types of AD/HD:

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Type (some people refer to this as ADD)
  2. Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type (some refer to this as ADHD)
  3. Combined Type

It is estimated that the prevalence of AD/HD is:

  • 5% - 7.5% in children
  • 3-6% in adults

Once thought to be a childhood disorder predominately affecting males, we now know that approximately 75-85% of children will continue experiencing this condition on into adulthood and that it also affects females.

AD/HD has different causes and there are differing theories that have been studied, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Neurobiological challenges in several different areas of the brain, including the pre-frontal cortex
  • Developmental disorder of self-control (Barkley 1995)
  • Brain Insults – head trauma, toxins/chemicals
  • AD/HD is NOT caused by sugar intake or poor parenting. Learn more about causes

In Addition:
There are several myths about AD/HD that are being dispelled. Learn more about myths...
Treatments for AD/HD typically involve a multi-modal approach. Learn more about treatment...

Some people with AD/HD are successful to a certain point and others suffer devastating failures.

The impact of ADD / ADHD is very significant:

Healthcare System

  • 50% increase in bike accidents1
  • 33% increase in emergency visits2
  • 2-4 times more motor vehicle accidents3,4


  • 46% expelled 5
  • 35% drop out rate 5
  • Lower occupation status 6
  • Increase in parental absenteeism from work 13
  • Lost Work Productivity of 22.1 days annually14


  • Substance abuse –
    • 2 x's the risk 7
    • Earlier onset 8
  • Less likely to quit in adulthood 9
  • 67% increase in unwanted pregnancy
  • 50% increase in legal challenges


  • 3-5 times increase in parental divorce or separation 10,11
  • 2-4 times increase in sibling fights 12


  1. DiScala, et al. 1998
  2. Liebson, etal. 2001
  3. NHTSA, 1997
  4. Barkley, et al. 1993, 1996
  5. Barkley, et al. 1990
  6. Mannuzza, et al. 1997
  7. Biederman, et al. 1997
  8. Pomerleau, et al. 1999
  9. Wilens, et al. 1995
  10. Barkley, et al. 1991
  11. Brown, Pacini. 1989
  12. Mash, Johnston. 1983
  13. Noe, et al. 1999
  14. International Study 2008