“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): It is estimated that between 3% and 5% of school-aged children are affected by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The basic symptoms of ADD are hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. On occasion, most people experience difficulty with paying attention, controlling impulsive behavior, or sitting still. What sets people with ADD apart, is the degree or frequency that they experience these symptoms. Their daily lives are interfered with by the persistence of these symptoms.

ADD is now divided into two categories, identified as either Inattentive or Hyperactive form. Symptoms of ADD appear before the age of 7 years and interfere with the individuals ability to function normally within the home, at school, and within the community. It was once thought that children out-grow ADD and as adults are unaffected by it. However, more recently researchers are recognizing that symptoms persist into adulthood. Diagnosis has been made easier due to the formation of diagnostic tools developed by psychological researchers.

Signs and Symptoms

A person is considered to have ADD if he or she demonstrates symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention for at least 6 months in at least two settings (such as at home and in school). The signs and symptoms listed below are typically seen in children with ADD and usually appear before age seven. In order to diagnose ADD in adults, psychologists have developed specialized tests. These tools in conjunction with a thorough history serve to identify the existence of ADD.

Symptoms of Inattention

Symptoms of Hyperactivity and Impulsivity


The cause of ADD is unknown, although genetic factors are thought to be involved. MRI's of the brain have shown differences between the brains of children with ADD and children without ADD. Children with ADD more often have altered brain activity in the prefrontal cortex. It is believed that irregularities in this area impair a person’s ability to control impulsive and hyperactive behaviors.

Research has shown that children demonstrating hyperactive behavior have increased theta wave (slow-wave) activity in the brain. This is the reason that many are prescribe stimulant types of medications. It is believed that stimulating the brain decreases theta wave activity resulting in an increase in the person’s ability to control impulses and a slowing of hyperactivity. Other studies indicate that symptoms associated with ADD may be caused by abnormally low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and is responsible for mental and emotional functioning. Additionally, there appears to be a correlation between low levels of dopamine and depression.

For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated November 20, 2018.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety-like medical condition: Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD.