What is ADHD?

ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is...

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) affects about one in twenty Australians, that’s about 1 million people, but is frequently misunderstood and under-diagnosed. Key features are inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity, and it may also be linked to other co-ocurring mental health conditions. Untreated ADHD can cause lifetime impairment; however there are effective ways of managing ADHD.

ADHD is diagnosed using criteria outlined in the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition' (DSM-5) by the American Psychiatric Association. To be diagnosed with ADHD the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity:

  • need to be excessive for the developmental age of the individual
  • need to be present before the age of 12
  • must have persisted for longer than 6 months
  • must contribute to impairment across multiple settings i.e. home, school, childcare, work, etc.

What is ADHD - factsheet

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ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder is an outdated term that was once used to describe the inattentive form of ADHD. ADHD is now considered to be the correct name of the disorder irrespective of a person's predominant traits.

The type of ADHD diagnosed depends on the most predominate set of symptoms.


To find out more about what ADHD is, get the facts by downloading the factsheet here.