What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a mental disorder that affects people of every age. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A person with ADHD has difficulty paying attention, controlling impulses, and staying organized. These symptoms can cause problems in school, at work, or in relationships. Most children outgrow ADHD by adolescence but some who continue to have the disorder as adults may need to take medication for the rest of their lives.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a chronic condition that can be characterized by symptoms such as, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impulsive behavior. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders in children. It is a chronic condition that may cause the child to have difficulty concentrating at school or home. Children with ADHD may have trouble sitting still for any length of time, and they are constantly moving about. They also tend to talk more than usual and find it difficult to wait their turn before speaking or interrupting others during conversations. Children with ADHD often do not listen when spoken to directly, but instead quickly shift their attention elsewhere. They may also be forgetful in areas such as homework or chores around the house.
ADHD is a chronic neurological disorder that appears in early childhood. The precise cause is unknown, but it is believed that several factors are involved, such as changes in brain structure and function. These changes may be due to genetics or exposure to environmental toxins. ADHD is typically diagnosed during childhood and manifests itself before the age of 7 years. It can be difficult to diagnose ADHD in children. It is not always obvious that, for example, a child is out of control. ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. A person with ADHD has difficulty paying attention, controlling impulses, and staying organized.
It is characterized by high levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
-Impulsivity or failure to consider the consequences of one’s actions
-Inability to stick with tasks -Restlessness and irritability
-Anxiety and depression
-Difficulty maintaining relationships with friends or family members
-Difficulty following through on plans and goals
-Inability to stay organized
-Skills that improve between tasks and under pressure
-Use of poor work materials -Striving for perfection which reduces the quality of work -Inability to regulate anger, frustration, or sadness
-Lack of respect for rules and conventions
-Being easily distracted
-Decreased tolerance for boredom and frustration -Anxiety -Insomnia -Hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli
If there is a pattern of behavior over time, that is called “a syndrome.
ADHD is not a disease that is curable, but it can be managed. It can only be effectively managed with medication or behavioral therapy. There are a number of conditions that are similar to ADHD. Depression, anxiety, and learning disabilities can also make it difficult for a person to get along with others. A person with ADHD will typically have symptoms of both depression and ADHD at the same time. This is called comorbidity and can be a diagnostic challenge.
Comorbid problems can occur too, such as:
-Learning disorders -Auditory processing disorder (difficulty of hearing) -Language disorders -Physical and developmental delays -Communication disorders or other language problems -Autism spectrum disorders
Recent research suggests that there is evidence that there are some genetic factors in the development of ADHD. It seems that there are different links to hyperactive/impulsive behavior compared to inattentive behavior.
There is some evidence that ADHD is more common in males. This may be partly explained by behavioral and social differences between the sexes. Males are more likely to be hyperactive and less socially skilled. Females are more likely to have inattentive symptoms. If studies of twins raise concerns about the issue, it should also be noted that, because twins have the same genes, if they both have ADHD, this is not a genetic effect but one which stems from factors such as maternal stress or alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
There is no cure for ADHD. People with ADHA can learn to manage their condition and meet their academic, social, and occupational goals. There are treatments that can help a person with ADHD feel better by helping them manage their symptoms. These treatments include:
-Medication -Psychologist or Psychiatrist (behavioral therapy) -Family Counseling -Social Skills Training
Evaluation is the first step in the process of diagnosing ADHD. It involves gathering information from parents, teachers, friends, and/or co-workers about how a person behaves during different situations. This information is used to assess whether there are any significant weaknesses in a person’s development or whether they meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. If a person meets the criteria of ADHD, they will be diagnosed with ADHD.
ADHD has been around since the early 1900s and research has shown that it is similar in all countries. However, there is a wide variation in the prevalence of ADHD. For example, studies from some countries show that 5% of children have ADHD, whereas in other countries it is as high as 20%. These variations can be explained by cultural differences and varying diagnostic patterns that exist between different areas.
In the United States alone, about 2 to 5 percent of children have been diagnosed with ADHD by age 18. ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents. It is about three times more common in boys than girls, although females who have ADHD tend to have less severe symptoms than males.
According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health:
-The number of children between ages 4–17 who have received a diagnosis for ADHD has risen from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 -The percentage of males that were diagnosed with ADHD dropped from 11.7% to 9%, while the percentage of females diagnosed increased from 5% to 5.6%. -Race had no impact on ADHD diagnosis rates.
The guidelines for diagnosing ADHD were established by the American Psychiatric Association with the release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994. DSM-V was released in May 2013, but it is not expected to change significantly from the previous version.
Diagnosis of ADHD in adults is based on a person’s childhood history of symptoms and their current presentation. The criteria for adults are essentially the same as for children, with only minor differences. For example, unlike children who require 6 symptoms before being diagnosed with ADHD, adults are required to have just 5 or more symptoms over time.
To meet the criteria for ADHD, a person must have symptoms from both the inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive categories.
-Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes -Has trouble holding attention on tasks or schoolwork -Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly -Does not follow through with instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores or duties in the workplace -Has trouble organizing tasks and activities -Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework) -Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. school assignments, pencils, books or tools) -Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli -Is forgetful in daily activities
-Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat -Leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected -Runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless) -Has trouble playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly -Appears driven by a motor (adolescents and adults may be limited to feeling restless) -Talks excessively
-Blurts out answers before questions have been completed -Has trouble awaiting turn – interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games) -Has trouble with nonverbal communication -Intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)
In children, hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behaviors must have been present for at least 6 months to a level that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level.
In adults, hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive symptoms must have been present for at least 6 months, to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level. In adults, there must also be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
Specific treatment approaches for ADHD depend on the symptoms present and the current level of impairment. For most people with ADHD, stimulant medications are the first-line treatment. It is believed that stimulating the central nervous system may increase their attention span and decrease impulsiveness.
In some situations, medication may not be as effective because of other factors such as a person’s sleep patterns. If stimulants do not work, various non-stimulant drugs are prescribed to increase dopamine activity in certain parts of the brain. There is also a debate about whether medications used to treat ADHD should be taken long-term.
In conclusion, ADHD is one of the most commonly studied diseases in modern times. In our busy society that demands quick solutions to problems and a higher standard from individuals, it is no wonder ADHD exists. People are more aware today of how their actions affect those around them and thus their treatment for this disease has changed dramatically from 2000 years ago. Currently, there are many controversies in the medical world about the causes and treatments of ADHD. These have been historically misunderstood and misrepresentations of studies have led to a serious lack of knowledge regarding the actual diagnosis and management of ADHD.