Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


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What is ADHD?

ADHD is a medically recognized disorder that describes individuals who experience great difficulty controlling their behavior. Most individuals have instances at some time or another where they have difficulty sitting still or paying attention. However, those with ADHD suffer from this so regularly and intensely that it can interfere with their ability to function at school, work, and in their social life.

There are three basic types of ADHD:

  1. Inattentive type: Individuals are disorganized, often make careless mistakes, have problems listening to others, difficulty completing tasks, they are easily distracted, and forgetful.
  2. Hyperactive/Impulsive type: Individuals are restless, fidgety, impatient, and they often act before thinking things through.
  3. Combined type: Individuals display both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.

How common is ADHD?

Research indicates that 3-7% of school-aged children have persistent well-defined symptoms of ADHD. Approximately 70% of children diagnosed will continue to have some symptoms throughout adolescence.

Does ADHD continue into adulthood?

Yes, but research is limited on the percentage of adults with ADHD. For undiagnosed adults, it is important to understand that ADHD begins in childhood, and some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms must have been present before age 7. ADHD in adults is similar to childhood symptoms, but adults are often less hyperactive.

The importance of accurate diagnosis:

There are other conditions that have symptoms similar to ADHD. For example, individuals with a Learning Disorder may have difficulty paying attention, because they may not understand certain information. Additionally, those who have an Anxiety Disorder may appear restless and fidgety. There are several other conditions that have similar symptoms. It is important for individuals to have an accurate diagnosis, because treatment for each condition varies. Diagnosis of ADHD involves a clinical interview, a review of childhood history, as well asking the child/adolescent’s parents and teachers to complete behavior rating scales and/or an interview. Additionally, psychological testing is often used as a tool to assess for ADHD.

How is ADHD treated?

Psychosocial therapy that focuses on parenting skills, education, behavior management, and social skills.
Treatment with medication is also effective.
Additional Information

Taking Charge of ADHD by Russell Barkley
The Hyperactive Child, Adolescent, and Adult by Paul H. Wender