How does ADHD differ from everyday attention problems?

ADHD stands for ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’. As with many psychiatric diagnoses, the symptoms exist on a continuum with normal functioning: for example most people feel anxious sometimes but this is not always indicative of an anxiety disorder. Similarly, most people will report attention problems or feeling fidgety from time to time: but children with ADHD have these problems more often than others, to a more severe extent, and with a greater level of disruption to their home and school functioning.

There are actually three types of ADHD: some children mainly have problems with attention and distractibility, others mainly have problems with impulse control and overactivity, and a third group have problems with all aspects. ADHD often co-occurs with executive function difficulties: in fact some researchers feel this is almost always the case. There can also be other conditions that go along with ADHD such as behavioural or emotion regulation difficulties, but not always.