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ADHD, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

For more information on:   Social Security Disability and SSI Disability.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD, is a developmental disorder that is most commonly diagnosed in small children, either in the preschool or earlier years, though it is now being diagnosed more and more in adults. It is said that it affects around 3-5 percent of the world’s population under 19 years of age, affecting nearly 2 million children in the United States.

ADHD is still not entirely understood though it is thought that it is highly heritable. It has also been estimated that nearly one-fifth of ADHD cases have been caused by toxic exposure or trauma. Around 60 percent of children who are diagnosed with ADHD have symptoms into adulthood. So far, three forms of the disease have been diagnosed: ADHD-PI (primarily inattentive), ADHD-PH/I (primarily hyperactive/impulsive) and ADHD-C (a combined form of the condition).

The most common symptoms of ADHD are hyperactivity, impulsivity and distractibility. Those with the condition lack impulse control, have difficulty concentrating and have an overabundance of energy. They may either appear withdrawn because of their lack of social connection or ‘out of control’ because of their hyperactivity. Due to the different types of the disease, there can be many more symptoms, from short term memory loss and problems organizing belongings, ideas and thoughts, to weak planning and execution, inability to focus and tardiness. Since small children do not have to plan, meet deadlines, have intimate relationships, work or be socially active, many of the symptoms are not present until a later development stage.

ADHD is not usually diagnosed alone. There are many other conditions that can be present along with ADHD from Conduct Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Anxiety Disorders, to Bipolar Disorder. It is currently thought that nearly 25 percent of children with ADHD also exhibit Bipolar Disorder symptoms.

Parents usually notice that something is ‘not quite right’ if their child is either disinterested or super hyperactive. While many children will exhibit a delay in brain development around 3-5 years behind their peers, they may also develop certain motor skills faster than normal. The only way to diagnose the disorder is to take the child to a psychiatrist specializing in ADHD for diagnostic tests. They will look at their inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity and make sure that certain signs are present. There must be an evident impairment before the age of seven, in more than one setting (school, home, etc.) and it must be very evident that there are social, occupational or academic impairments in functioning. This is a short list and there are many, many criteria to determine ADHD is present. ADHD is not life threatening and can be treated with success. While not all symptoms will go away, ADHD can be treated with some success.

The most common treatment for ADHD is psychostimulant medication. Oftentimes non-stimulant medication, antidepressants and mood stabilizer medications will help show signs of improvement. Treatment usually involves a variety of medications and adjustments, from behavior therapy and counseling to lifestyle and diet changes. Removing sugar, caffeine, chocolate and highly processed foods is recommended by most doctors.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related Body System Impairments:

Can You qualify for Social Security disability or SSI on the basis of anxiety or panic attacks?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Filing for Disability
Panic Attacks and Filing for Disability
Anxiety Disorder, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Anxiety Attacks and Filing for Disability
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar Disorder and Filing for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI and ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Filing for Disability
ADHD, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Facts about ADHD and Filing for Disability
OCD and Filing for Disability
Alcoholism and Filing for Disability
Bipolar disorder, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
PTSD, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria