Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity

What is ADHD and how is it treated?

The National Institutes of Mental Health has created a comprehensive information page concerning the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There are also helpful resources in Spanish. Please refer to for this comprehensive description of the symptoms of ADHD and its treatment. It is important to recognize that the first step in evaluating and treating ADHD includes comprehensive medical, mental health and educational evaluations.

What can I do to help myself if I have ADHD?

Youth should be encouraged to tell a parent, school counselor, teacher or another trusted adult about the changes in attention, impulsivity and high energy associated with ADHD.

What can I do to help my friend with ADHD?

Best friends.

The first thing to do is encourage your friend to talk with a parent (or trusted adult) and to seek a trusted medical or mental health professional who can provide evaluation and support. Praise your friend for being honest, and provide reassurance that the symptoms are merely signs confirming the need to talk with an adult. Reassure your friend that ADHD and other concerns are treatable.

As a friend, your understanding, patience and encouragement are invaluable! Also, try to keep your friend "in the loop" socially and try to encourage participation in fun activities.

If you hear your friend talk about suicide, immediately report this to the school counselor and your friend's parents. If you believe that your friend might actually cause harm to himself or another person, notify his parents now, call 911 now, and make certain your friend stays safe.

Implications at school:

Kids with ADHD often require minor accommodations in the school to be successful. These might involve simply sitting in the front row, thus preventing the otherwise normal activities of classmates from becoming a distraction. A large school project might be divided into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Other helpful strategies for success in school include:

  • teach organizational and time-management skills
  • use visual reminders, schedules and assignment lists
  • maintain a supportive environment at home and school
  • ensure thorough communication between parents and school personnel

Caring for Children with ADHD: A Resource Toolkit

Q: How do you eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time.

More ADHD Resources