Is ADHD a form of mental illness?

Yes, ADHD is considered a form of mental illness. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect a person’s ability to pay attention, control their impulses, and manage their behaviors. Despite being classified as a neurodevelopmental mental health condition, most experts and doctors are moving towards an understanding of ADHD as a strictly neurodevelopmental condition. Having ADHD does not automatically mean you have poor mental health.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illnesses are treatable health conditions that involve significant changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior — or any combination of these. They are often associated with distress and can affect social situations, work, or relationships.

Although ADHD falls into the defined category of mental illness, it’s most often referred to as a disorder, even by the American Psychiatric Association. As these terms are sometimes used interchangeably in clinical settings, ADHD can be described as a mental illness and a disorder.

The category of mental illness is very broad. Some people prefer to use the term “disorder” to avoid or reduce perceived stigma around the term “illness.” There is nothing shameful about a mental illness, a mental disorder, or ADHD.

It is important to note that ADHD is a complex condition, and it can manifest in different ways in different people. Some people with ADHD may have predominantly inattentive symptoms, while others may have predominantly hyperactive and impulsive symptoms. Still, others may have a combination of inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive symptoms.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it is important to speak with a qualified healthcare professional. They can help determine the best course of action, which may include further evaluation and treatment options.