Is There a Cure for ADHD?

Woman with ADHD looking out into space.

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ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurological condition that manifests as problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. About 4% of adults and 9% of children in the United States live with ADHD, and many deal with symptoms throughout their lives.

While there is no cure for ADHD, treatments can help manage symptoms and improve functioning. These include medication, behavioral therapy, and educational interventions. With treatment, most people with ADHD are able to live relatively symptom-free and successful lives.

This article will describe the current understanding of ADHD and its symptoms, as well as available treatments. It will also explore the idea of a cure for ADHD and whether or not such a thing is possible. Finally, it will discuss how to cope with ADHD on your own.

What Is ADHD?

ADHD is a condition that affects the brain's ability to control attention and impulses. It is characterized by problems with focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

People with ADHD often have trouble paying attention or focusing on tasks. They may be easily distracted, unable to sit still for long periods of time, and impulsive. These symptoms can interfere with school, work, and personal relationships.

ADHD is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is often diagnosed in childhood, but it can also be diagnosed in adults.

There are three types of ADHD:

  1. Inattentive type: This type is characterized by problems with attention and focus.
  2. Hyperactive-impulsive type: This type is characterized by problems with hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  3. Combined type: This type is characterized by problems with both attention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.

Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD vary from person to person. They may also change over time. Below are the most common symptoms for each ADHD type.

Inattentive type

  • Difficulty paying attention to details or making careless mistakes
  • Trouble listening or following instructions
  • Problems with organization
  • Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Losing things often

Hyperactive-Impulsive type

  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Trouble staying seated
  • Excessive talking
  • Blurting out answers before hearing the whole question
  • Difficulty waiting in line or taking turns

Combined type

  • All of the above symptoms of inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types

Is There a Cure for ADHD?

There is no cure for ADHD because it is a neurological difference rather than a disease. In fact, some people with ADHD see it as a positive rather than a negative. In the neurodivergent community, ADHD is sometimes known as a "superpower."

How ADHD Can Be a 'Superpower'

This is because people with ADHD often have strengths in areas such as creativity, spontaneity, and out-of-the-box thinking.

Brandon Li, co-founder, and CEO of Power notes, "One of the main reasons why many ADHD people don’t like to refer to the disorder as an illness is that it does not have a cure, and does not necessarily need one. It is a neurological condition that can bring about many benefits and amazing traits to the person, and that in other societal circumstances, would not need treatment." 

That said, there are treatments such as medication that can help manage the negative symptoms of ADHD and improve functioning. In recent years, there have been significant advances in our understanding of the condition and how to best treat it.

Below are some of the recent advances:

  • In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics released updated treatment guidelines for ADHD. These guidelines recommend that children aged 6-17 with ADHD be treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.
  • In 2014, findings from the National Survey of the Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD and Tourette Syndrome, a follow-back survey of parents from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children's Health, recommended additional psychosocial supports for school-aged children.
  • In 2017, the FDA approved a new long-acting injectable medication for treating ADHD called Mydayis. Mydayis is taken once a day and can last up to 16 hours.
  • In 2021, the FDA approved a new medication for treating ADHD: Qelbree. Qelbree is a non-stimulant medication that is taken once per day.

As you can see, there have been significant advances in the treatment of ADHD in recent years. With continued research, it is hoped that even more effective treatments will be developed in the future.

Can ADHD Go Away On Its Own?

Most experts agree that there is no cure for ADHD. The disorder is chronic, which means it lasts a long time—usually throughout adulthood. Many people with ADHD learn to manage their symptoms with treatment and by developing healthy coping mechanisms. Some even find that their symptoms lessen as they age.

ADHD Treatment

There is no cure for ADHD, but there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. The most effective treatment is a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

Medication

Medication can help reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention. Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. These include drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamines (Adderall). Non-stimulant medications, such as atomoxetine (Strattera), can also be effective.

Behavior Therapy

Behavioral therapy involves teaching children with ADHD how to improve their behavior and pay attention. It can involve setting rules, providing structure, and helping them learn organizational skills. Family therapy can also be helpful in managing the disorder.

Educational Interventions

Educational interventions, such as accommodations and modifications, can also help children with ADHD succeed in school. These may include things like extra time for tests or assignments, being allowed to take breaks, and having a quiet place to work.

How to Cope With ADHD

There is no cure for ADHD, but there are ways to cope with the symptoms. These include:

A Word From Verywell

Living with ADHD can be difficult, but it is possible to manage symptoms and lead a happy and productive life. With the right treatment and support, people with ADHD can reach their full potential.

7 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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