ADHD Basics

Glossary of ADHD Terms

Explore short definitions of terms related to Adult ADHD in this comprehensive glossary. Understand ADHD, its symptoms, co-existing conditions, and treatment options with insights from the Finding Focus Care Team.

This glossary provides concise definitions of terms related to Adult ADHD, helping you to better understand this condition and its related disorders.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, affecting both children and adults.

ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: A subtype of ADHD marked by excessive energy, such as fidgeting, restlessness, and impulsive behaviours like interrupting others.

ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type: This subtype involves primary symptoms of inattention such as distractibility, forgetfulness, and disorganization, commonly diagnosed in adults and females.

ADHD Combined Type: A form of ADHD where individuals exhibit both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms at significant levels.

Hyperfocus: A state where an individual becomes intensely focused on an activity to the exclusion of everything else, often observed in people with ADHD.

Impulsivity: The tendency to act on a whim, displaying behaviours characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences.

Inattention: A lack of focus, distractibility, or a short attention span, often resulting in difficulty in maintaining tasks or activities.

Stimulants: Medications that stimulate the central nervous system, commonly used to treat ADHD by improving symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity.

Stressors: Events or stimuli that induce stress, categorized as physiological (from external sources) or psychological (from perceived threats).

Co-Existing Conditions: The occurrence of multiple disorders or conditions in an individual simultaneously, often influencing each other’s progression and management.

Anxiety: A condition of persistent worry and nervousness, often with physical symptoms like increased heart rate and sweating, commonly occurring alongside ADHD.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A condition featuring excessive anxiety and worry, even about ordinary activities, leading to significant distress and physical symptoms.

Separation Anxiety Disorder: A condition characterized by excessive fear or anxiety about separation from home or an attachment figure.

Social Anxiety Disorder: A chronic mental health condition where social interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment.

Depression: A mood disorder causing persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest that disrupts daily functioning.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): A type of depression related to changes in seasons, with symptoms that appear and end at about the same times each year.

Autism: A neurodevelopmental disorder involving challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, and communication.

Bulimia Nervosa: An eating disorder marked by binge eating followed by purging, which can co-occur with ADHD, contributing to emotional and physical health issues.

Assessment & Diagnosis: The process of identifying ADHD through evaluations, including interviews and cognitive tests, performed by healthcare professionals.

Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS): A diagnostic tool consisting of 18 questions developed by the WHO to help identify symptoms of ADHD in adults, though not for formal diagnosis.

ADHD Coaching: A specialized form of support where trained professionals help individuals with ADHD enhance organizational skills, motivation, and the ability to focus and manage symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): A therapy method that addresses negative thought patterns and behaviours to improve emotional regulation and coping strategies.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): A form of CBT that emphasizes emotional regulation, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness to manage intense emotional responses.

Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT): A therapeutic approach that involves accepting thoughts and feelings without judgement, focusing on the present, and managing emotions and actions.

Brief Motivational Interviewing Therapy: A therapeutic approach that focuses on enhancing motivation and commitment to change, beneficial for ADHD individuals struggling with procrastination.

Neurofeedback (NFB): A technique that trains individuals to alter their brain waves, often used in ADHD to enhance concentration and attention.

Neurodevelopmental Disorder: Disorders that affect brain development and function, which can impact emotion, learning ability, self-control, and memory.

Comorbidity: The presence of one or more additional conditions co-occurring with a primary condition, such as ADHD with anxiety or depression.

Bipolar Disorder: A mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings including emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): Previously used to describe ADHD with primary inattentive symptoms. This term has been replaced by ADHD predominantly inattentive type.

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: A condition where the sleep-wake cycle is misaligned with the environment, causing insomnia and daytime fatigue.

Dyslexia: A learning disorder characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities.

Narcolepsy: A chronic sleep disorder with overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep, sometimes occurring with ADHD.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A disorder where individuals have uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours (compulsions) they feel compelled to repeat.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): A disorder characterized by defiant, disobedient, and hostile behaviours towards authority figures, particularly prevalent in children.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): A disorder causing uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them, often worsening during periods of inactivity.

Sleep Apnea: A potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.

Finding Focus Care Team

We are a group of nurse practitioners, continuous care specialists, creators, and writers, all committed to excellence in patient care and expertise in ADHD. We share content that illuminates aspects of ADHD and broader health care topics. Each article is medically verified and approved by the Finding Focus Care Team. You can contact us at if you have any questions!


Ready to find focus in your life?

Start your free self-assessment to find out if you’re eligible for fast, affordable, online ADHD care!
Start Free Self Assessment
Woman sitting on couch smiling looking at her phone