Is ADHD a Real Problem?

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The condition called ADHD has only come to fore in recent years, and its diagnosis is controversial leading many to ask “Is ADHD a Real Problem?”

Everyone forgets things at times, and nearly all children have trouble staying on task to some degree, so some wonder if it is a real problem at all . Another aspect to consider is whether ADHD is a problem, or just another way of relating to the world.

Is ADHD a real problem? The Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as seven percent of children may have ADHD, and half of those will carry the condition into adulthood.While the seven percent number is at the high end of the scale, the average would be around five percent of any given group of the population. The CED further estimates that there is a “cost of illness” factor of between $36 billion and $52 billion in the United States which is from lost working time and from costs involved in getting treatment and medication.

The problem

One of the problems in convincing people that ADHD is a real condition, is that we all have the symptoms to some degree. Everyone forgets things and everyone gets distracted.

People who do not have ADHD have trouble understanding why it is a major problem for some people. But for those who have it, it is a real problem because it disrupts and hampers their life - whether at home or at school or work.


Hyperactivity is usually what comes to mind when considering ADHD, but it is only one of the major types. There is also the predominantly inattentive type of ADHD, and a third type is a combination of the two. The predominantly inattentive type of ADHD person is still likely to fidget and have trouble being totally still.

The primary symptoms apart from hyperactivity are an inability to stay focused on a task and difficulty paying attention to minor details. There is also a difficulty in following instructions, and a tendency to be distracted by unrelated things while trying to get work done. Frequent shifts from one unfinished project to another one are another aspect.

Many adults have the condition and are not aware of it because they have developed coping mechanisms over the years. Often adults discover they have it when their child is diagnosed.

Another angle

Another angle is that ADHD is only a problem if it negatively impacts your life. There are some positive aspects to ADHD, and some have even suggested that it is not a condition at all, but just another way of looking at the world.

Creativity is one of the major benefits of ADHD. People with this condition are also able to think outside the box more easily and often and are therefore able to come up with creative solutions to problems. Being distractible is a negative aspect, but once a person with ADHD does become focused, they are very hard to distract. This is called hyperfocus, and it is another positive aspect to ADHD.


Center for Disease Control

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