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HADD's mission is to make life better for people affected by ADHD

Gareth Gregan, a recent graduate of Trinity College Dublin who now lives in London, says his previous diagnoses of anxiety and depression were “like a jumper that didn’t fit”.

Gregan got through school just fine, but when he reached uni, things started to fall apart. He failed two consecutive years, where previously he’d been getting top grades. “I'd sit exams in May, fail them, resit them in August, and fail them again. It was like this cyclical process that wasn't actually going anywhere.”

Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) not only have an adverse effect on a child’s academic performance, they can also hinder social functioning, according to a recent study published in Child Development.

A common — but confusing — symptom of ADHD is called “hyperfocus,” or the ability to zero in intensely on an interesting project or activity for hours at a time.

It’s no secret that children and adults with ADHD often struggle to focus on tasks they find uninteresting. High distractibility — children with ADHD who are unable to stay focused on a classroom lecture or adults with ADHD who never get around to doing their paperwork — is a key ADHD symptom and diagnosis criterion.

By nature, I’m messy and disorganized — and my mind can be too. I have trouble sustaining attention on just about anything.

In school, this meant I didn’t do well in classes. In college, it meant that I largely blew them off and spent most of my time partying. (When you’re at a party, no one expects you to focus!). After college, I was diagnosed with ADHD.

An expert on attention deficit and learning disabilities talks about the biology behind ADHD and why it’s sometimes so difficult to diagnose and treat symptoms in children.

In my 40 years as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have treated thousands of youngsters. With some children, I am able to make a quick evaluation about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and outline a course of ADHD treatment.

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