adhd icon


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has been diagnosed in 10.2% of children, aged 4-17.

- US Centers for Disease Control



Know the facts.

DEFINITION: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects the ability to pay attention in a focused way, think clearly, complete tasks, and control behavior, like sitting still.

There are different types of ADHD:

  1. Attention deficit type
  2. Hyperactive and impulsive type
  3. Combination of ADD and ADHD

ADHD is the most common mental health diagnosis for children.

Everyone has difficulty concentrating sometimes, but for those with ADHD, it may interfere with their life.

People with ADHD may have one symptom or a combined set of symptoms.

Symptoms of attention deficit:
A person with attention deficit might...

  • be easily distracted, miss details, forget things
  • frequently switch from one activity to another
  • have trouble completing homework,
  • often lose things like pencils, books, and keys
  • not seem to be listening when people are speaking to them
  • have difficulty organizing

Symptoms of hyperactivity and/or impulsivity:
A person with hyperactivity or impulsivity might...

  • have trouble sitting still during dinner, school or work
  • fidget, or tap hands and feet, or squirm in their seat
  • be unable to play or engage in leisure activities quietly
  • talk excessively
  • have difficulty waiting their turn
  • often blurt out inappropriate comments, or interrupt the conversations or activities of others
  • show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
  • act aggressively

Learning how to relax and slow down, getting enough sleep and regular exercise are important habits to practice.

Reducing screen time and increasing outdoor activities can be beneficial.

Taking medication prescribed by a psychiatrist and working with a mental health professional can help those who have ADHD to focus and concentrate.

Family and friends can also provide important support. 

Participating in solo sport activities such as swimming, running, biking or tennis can help people with ADHD focus.

Some people find yoga or quiet meditation to be calming.

Learn more about Self Care & Wellness >>


  • Understand that people with ADHD tend to be very bright, but may not do well in school.
  • Take good notes and share them.
  • Text them reminders (test dates, field trips)


  • Educate yourself about the disorder.
  • Listen to your friend when they want to talk.
  • Keep checking in with your friend.
  • Use 1st person language. Say,
    “My friend has ADHD.” not “My friend is hyper.”
  • Reassure your friend of your support and understanding.


  • “It’s not your fault.”
  • “I’m listening.”
  • “I am here for you.”
  • “It’s the illness that causes these thoughts and feelings.”
  • “This must be really difficult for you.”


  • “It’s all in your head.”
  • “What’s wrong with you?”
  • “Get over yourself, you have no reason to feel that way.”
  • “Shouldn’t you be better by now?”


  • ...tell a friend to “Snap out of it!”
  • ...diagnose.
  • ...gossip.
  • ...take your friend’s withdrawal personally.

Find additional information on our Mental Health Disorders page and other suggestions on our Understanding Stigma page >>

Can you answer these questions?

  1. What is ADHD?
  2. How common is ADHD?
  3. Describe the three symptom types of ADHD.
  4. What treatments are available for people who have ADHD?
  5. What can you do to support someone with ADHD?
  6. How do you think stigma might affect a person with ADHD?

*Hint: Read the ADHD facts at the top of this page to find the answers for 1-5. And view our Understanding Stigma page for question #6.



This is What It's Really Like to Have ADHD

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7 Everyday Struggles Of People With ADHD

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How to Know if You Have ADHD

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What It Feels Like To Have ADHD

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Know the facts.

Fact: If untreated ADHD continues into adulthood.

There are many things that can help children with ADHD grow up to lead very productive lives as adults.

They can identify and develop their strengths.

They can structure environments to be less distracting. They may need to take prescribed medication.

In some careers, having a high-energy behavior pattern can be an asset.                            

- Adapted from

Fact: Studies suggest that ADHD is a chronic disorder that can have a negative impact on virtually every aspect of daily social, emotional, academic and work functioning. (Barkely, 1998)

- National Resource Center on ADHD

Fact: ADHD is not anyone's fault. Research findings conclude that many ADHD cases have a genetic component.

The factors that appear to increase a child's likelihood of the disorder include gender, family history, prenatal risks, environmental toxins and physical differences in the brain.

- Adapted from ADHD Awareness (October 2015)

Fact: People with ADHD are not lazy. In fact, people with ADHD are typically very smart, although they may not do well in school because it is difficult for them to focus their attention.

The list of high-achieving business executives with ADHD include

  • David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways and
  • Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinko's

- Adapted from 

Fact: People with ADHD may instead exhibit symptoms of impulsivity or inattention.

Some people with ADHD have a combination of symptoms.

Others with ADHD may be able to sit still for long periods of time, but their brains are so active that they cannot concentrate or focus their attention. 

- Adapted from information on the NIMH website on ADHD



It's OK to ask for help.
Talk to a trusted adult.

Visit and access the all new YouthWell Community Resources Directory. You will find youth behavioral health and wellness resources in this resource directory.

If you or someone you know has harmed themselves or is in immediate risk of harm CALL 911 immediately.

SAFTY ~ Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth 

  • 888-334-2777 - SAFTY is a mobile crisis response service available daily 8am-8pm, providing crisis intervention, phone, and in-home support, and linkage to mental health services. Available to all SB County youth, age 0-20, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. 

Crisis Text Line

  • Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling.
    Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via text. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.

Suicide, Substance Abusee or Mental Health Lifeline

  • Text 988 - Connects callers to a trained counselor at a crisis center closest to them

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 - 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ support, and youth in crisis - provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ young people

  • Call 866-488-7386 or Text START to 678678

Learning about mental health is the first step to wellness. The Mental Wellness Center (MWC) can help families find medical and professional care, as well as teach important skills on how to manage your mental health. Many families in our community have teenagers who are struggling with depression, anxiety, ADHD and other mental health issues. It can be overwhelming as a parent to find support for your teenager and difficult to talk about these issues. The MWC is focused on providing a safe and confidential space for families to connect with others, access community resources and get the support your family needs.