Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

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What is ADHD?

ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and is often picked up when children are young and are struggling to:

  • pay attention
  • stay focused or concentrate
  • sit still without fidgeting or becoming restless (hyperactivity)
  • think before they do things

Many of us go through phases where we are fidgety or find it hard to pay attention. This can be completely normal and does not mean you have ADHD.

Things normally get better as children get older, but some adults are affected all their lives. ADHD affects more boys than girls.

What does ADHD look like?

School or college can be difficult places for young people with ADHD. The need to concentrate is tough and they can appear as if:

  • they’re not listening in lessons
  • they’re easily distracted and
  • they forget information and instructions given to them

So it’s important teachers know if you have ADHD. They need to know how it affects you, how it impacts your learning and what support you need.

At home you’ll probably need support and somewhere quiet to get your homework and other stuff done.

ADHD can be managed with medication and behaviour management strategies.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

ADD which stands for Attention Deficit Disorder has similar symptoms to ADHD, but without the hyperactivity. The main problem for people experiencing ADD is poor concentration.

Top tips for getting help

  • Remember to look after yourself and make sure you have a good diet with regular meals, it is easy to become distracted and miss out on meals and getting a shower etc.
  • Get a good sleep routine of going to bed at a regular time, not getting enough sleep can make you more irritable and affect your concentration.
  • Use your phone to create a list of things to do and reminders to do them and set yourself
  • Make a list and set yourself timers for each task.
  • If you are in a meeting or lesson write down anything you are expected to do in a diary in case you forget.

Where can I get help?

If these behaviours are affecting your daily routine or making school or time at home particularly challenging then talk to someone you trust and visit your GP. There isn’t a test for ADHD and so instead a psychiatrist may talk to you about your feelings, moods and difficulties to find out the best way to help.

Other helpful info

  • NHS choices is a great place to find out more info about ADHD; what it is, and how to get help.
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPSYCH) have some really helpful information for young people about ADHD.
  • ADDISS, the National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service is worth a look too.
For more information on ADHD visit Young Minds or find out how you can access our services so that we can support you.

Last updated: 8 March, 2018