Expert Advice: ADHD and Adoption

Are adopted children more likely to suffer from ADHD?


Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, often referred to as ADHD or ADD, is one of the most prevalent pediatric neurodevelopmental disorders. Children with ADHD have significant difficulty with distractibility, impulsivity, and sometimes, hyperactivity. Although all children can display some of these behaviors at times, children with ADHD generally exhibit these symptoms repeatedly both at home and at school. Moreover, the formal diagnostic criteria for ADHD require that these symptoms must lead to "impairment of function." Thus, by definition, children with ADHD are unable to function well in school, at home, and/or with peers socially.

An estimated 5 to 9% of grade-school children have ADHD. Although concerns have been raised regarding over-diagnosis, this is not a widespread phenomenon. To the contrary, there are many children with ADHD who have not been diagnosed or received proper treatment. It is important to remember that not all children with ADHD are overactive; ADHD also refers to the child who simply has significant difficulty with inattention and distractibility.

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