Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder And Disability

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? ADHD is generally considered to be a developmental disorder, largely neurological in nature, affecting about 5% of the world’s population. ADHD is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity along with distractibility, forgetfulness and poor impulse control or impulsivity. It usually appears in childhood.

At the present time, adhd is considered to be a chronic and persistent developmental disorder. Toxic exposure or trauma can contribute to ADHD which appears to be largely heritable.

Over the past decade more and more adults have been diagnosed with ADHD, although adhd is usually diagnosed in children. About 60% of the children diagnosed with ADHD continue to have the developmental disorder as adults.

There is no medical cure at this time. ADHD is usually treated with a combination of behavior modifications, counseling, medications and life style changes.

ADHD is not without controversy. There are those who question whether ADHD is a true impairment. In fact, there are those who question everything that is known about ADHD.

There are certain criteria which must be met in order for a person to be diagnosed with ADHD. It is set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), 4th edition. They have been created for research purposes. There are three types of ADHD.

The three types of ADHD are:

  • ADD, Combined Type: if both criteria I-A and I-B are met for the past 6 months
  • ADHD Predominantly inattentive Type: if criterion I-A is met but criterion I-B is not met for the past six months
  • ADD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion I-B is met but Criterion I-A is not met for the past six months.

Three types of ADHD are classified based on the DSM-IV criteria listed below:

The DSM-IV criteria

I. Either A or B:

A. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6 months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level.

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work or other activities.
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions).
  • Often has trouble organizing activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Often forgetful in daily activities.

B. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least 6 months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level:

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.
  • Often gets up from seat when remaining in seat is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs when and where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may feel very restless).
  • Often has trouble playing or enjoying leisure activities quietly.
  • Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”.
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Impulsiveness
  • Often blurts out answers before questions have been finished.
  • Often has trouble waiting one’s turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).

II. Some symptoms that cause impairment were present before age 7 years.

III. Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings (e.g. at school/work and at home).

IV. There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, school or work functioning.

V. The symptoms do not happen only during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia or other Psychotic Disorder. The symptoms are not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder or a Personality Disorder).

If you believe you or your child has ADHD, or if you or your child has been diagnosed as being ADHD, you may want to know if ADHD qualifies as a disability that will allow you to receive a disability benefit or Social Security disability benefit for you or your child. ADHD does qualify as a disability recognized by the Social Security Administration. Getting approved for a social Security Disability benefit or disability benefit on the basis of ADHD can be difficult. Part of the problem with being approved for a Social Security disability benefit or disability benefit based on this impairment has to do with the subjective nature of how Social Security evaluates ADHD.

If you are seeking a Social Security disability benefit or disability benefit for you or your child based upon ADHD, the expert attorneys at can aid you in receiving your benefits.