Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a pattern of persistent inattention and/or hyperactivity that follows a developmental course, with symptoms usually apparent during childhood or adolescence. It causes significant problems in multiple areas of daily living including academic and work performance as well as relationships.

ADHD can involve difficulty paying attention, difficulty controlling the urge to act before thinking, and sometimes feeling or acting restless. It is an invisible disability that represents the extremes of traits or characteristics that all people exhibit to a greater or lesser degree.

This inattention and impairment affects up to 8% of the adult U.S. population. Many who go undiagnosed find it difficult to stay in school, keep a job, maintain relationships, or stay out of trouble.

Most students and adults will go through periods of restlessness and inattentiveness, with difficulty concentrating, focusing, and completing work. Often these symptoms are related to stress and adjustment reactions associated with changes in a person's life rather than ADHD.

ADHD symptoms may also overlap with other mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol or drug abuse. These mental health conditions show up commonly during young adulthood. For this reason, a careful assessment is required before any medications are prescribed.

What should you do if you think you have ADHD?

Diagnosing an adult with ADHD requires a sophisticated evaluation by trained psychologists or other mental health or medical professionals. If you suspect you may have ADHD but have never formally been diagnosed, tested, or treated, there are a number of on- and off-campus options available. Start the process by scheduling a consult with a Hampshire College provider for evaluation and referral.

Students covered under the Hampshire College Student Health Insurance Plan have coverage toward ADHD testing and diagnosis. Formal evaluation and diagnostic testing for ADHD and/or other learning disorders can often take several weeks to months to arrange and complete, and may or may not be covered by your health insurance. If you don't have the student insurance plan, contact your insurance carrier before beginning any psychological testing or evaluation.