Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Treatment

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When focusing is hard, it's easy to make careless mistakes or forget important tasks. If this happens to you for at least 6 months, and in at least two environments then you might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD can show up in several different ways. Though associated with hyperactive and impulsive behavior, it can also cause inattentiveness.

Most people have a combination of symptoms. This can make it difficult to diagnose and get correct treatment. Though associated with children, many aren't diagnosed until adulthood.

We can help you get a correct diagnosis and treatment.

ADHD Treatment at UVA Health 

There is no cure for ADHD. Instead, we work to help you reduce your symptoms. 

Behavior Therapy

Behavior therapy can be an important part of a treatment solution for many. We'll help you focus on organization and strategies that help reduce the impact of symptoms. Therapy sessions are also good for working on problem-solving skills.


Most medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants. Stimulants increase activity in parts of the brain affected by ADHD.

If you cannot take stimulants due to side effects or personal preference, non-stimulant medications are also available. 

Some people have to try several medications before they find one that successfully manages their symptoms. 


Watch Kim Penberthy, PhD, define and discuss ADD and ADHD. View transcript.

Who Gets ADHD?

Anyone can get ADHD. But there are some things that may increase your risk.

  • Having relatives with ADHD
  • Being the oldest sibling 
  • Your mom consumed alcohol during pregnancy 

While many other potential causes (sugar, TV, food dyes) have been investigated as potential causes, none have shown a direct link. 

Common ADHD Symptoms 

While ADHD symptoms can vary, here are some examples: 

  • Dislikes activities with many steps or transitions
  • Has trouble paying attention when overstimulated by sights and sounds
  • Interrupts others when speaking
  • Forgets daily items (keys, wallet, glasses, or phone) 
  • Fidgets continually 
  • Sometimes gets absorbed in activities for long periods of time
  • Talks a lot 
  • Engages in reckless behavior
  • Impulsively says inappropriate things
  • Organizational systems make little sense to others
  • Has trouble completing tasks