About ADHD

About ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in Canada, affecting 4-6% of adults and 5-7% of children, or approximately 1.8 million Canadians. In other words, 1 of every 21 people in the country has the disorder. Everyone who has ADHD is impaired, or has more difficulty than normal, with regulating their attention or focus.

Impairment in regulating attention is experienced as:

  • Difficulty staying focused, especially when tasks are not particularly interesting
  • Being over-focused and not able to break focus when things are interesting or stimulating
  • Difficulty switching focus especially when over-focusing
  • Not being able to focus on the most important thing (that is, prioritizing focus), when something is more stimulating

How ADHD is classified:

There are three main classifications of ADHD, however, the condition's effect on each individual is as unique as their own  fingerprints. ADHD is experienced differently by everyone who has the condition.


Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

Some people with ADHD may move or talk excessively. Some people with ADHD may make decisions overly quickly or act rashly. They may have difficulty waiting, interrupt others, and make spontaneous decisions. Emerging research is heavily focused on other groups of people who may experience and exhibit hyperactivity in different ways than what was learned in past decades.


Inattentive ADHD

Some people with this type of ADHD may only have difficulty with attention regulation; this is primarily inattention ADHD. While attention issues are not the most annoying symptoms, they are among the most concerning symptoms, as poorly regulated attention causes difficulty in learning, at work, in relationships, and in daily functioning.


Combined ADHD

Some people with ADHD have both impulsivity along with attention dysregulation; this is Combined ADHD or ADHD-C.

Many people with ADHD also have difficulty with regulating their emotions 

People with ADHD become frustrated, overwhelmed, and angry more easily; they are also less able to express these emotions in acceptable ways. They are often more irritable and moody. ADHD is a disorder of self-regulation; this means that people with ADHD find it more difficult to control or regulate their behavior. They know what they should be doing but are unable to do it. They might blame others for their problems and not realize how their own behaviour affects those close to them. 

Many people with ADHD are unaware of their ADHD symptoms 

People with ADHD are unable to experience what it is like not to have ADHD. They function with ADHD impairments as their 'normal'.


People with ADHD are often told that they are simply lazy and unmotivated. Since they may have great difficulty at school or in a learning environment due to their ADHD, they often feel that they are not as bright and capable of learning as their peers.


This is not true. In fact, ADHD does not affect someone’s IQ. People with ADHD are just as smart as others; they just learn differently and need specific supports. 

Quick Facts About ADHD

  • ADHD is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder. It has been documented for more than 200 years.
  • ADHD is a common childhood disorder leading to impairments in learning and behavior. 
  • ADHD remains under-recognized, under diagnosed and misdiagnosed in Canada. 
  • Eighty percent of children diagnosed with ADHD continue to qualify for a diagnosis in adolescence and at least 65% continue to be impaired by symptoms in adulthood. 
  • All forms of attention regulation are impaired in ADHD. Those with ADHD can over-focus and have difficulty breaking their focus, if something is stimulating, as much as they have problems with under focusing. 
  • ADHD is recognized by all major medical associations and government health agencies as a “real” medical condition.

Additional Resources on ADHD

Additional Resources

What you need to know about ADHD

Download PDF
ADHD Newsletter

Sign up for news, resources, support, and opportunities to your email

Subscribe to CADDAC's Newsletter

CADDAC is here to help you

CADDAC's Resource Navigation Program is available to the Canadian public Monday to Friday each week. Your phone calls and emails to our team are confidential and receive dedicated attention to connect you with current and relevant Canadian information so that you can plan next steps in your personal or family ADHD journey. 

Contact CADDAC's Resource Navigator

info@caddac Contact Form - EN (u/d 22-07-29)
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram